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Proving age discrimination ain’t easy16 Sep 2010 08:31 am

Why doesn’t the oldest Congress ever and the old guys on the Supreme Court care about ageism?

Jack Gross had been a successful employee for 30 years at FBL Financial Services, getting numerous promotions and ending up as claims administration Vice President. But in 2001, at the age of 54, he was demoted during a company reorganization and a woman in her early 40s took over his responsibilities.

Gross filed a discrimination case with the district court in Iowa and won but the story doesn’t end there.gross.jpg His case ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court, and in a controversial 5-4 decision by the high court, the lower court’s ruling was over turned. The decision altered the landscape for older worker, making it more difficult for them to prove age discrimination.

Suddenly it became the burden of the employee to show that his or her age was the reason for a demotion or firing, and not just one of a few.

Some courts have already seen the Supreme Court’s ruling as the green light to “raise the bar” on older workers when it comes to proving discrimination charges, according to a New York Times editorial yesterday.

But hope may be on the horizon. (more…)

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