Could this be age discrimination?

My mother is 64 years old, turns 65 years old in 3 weeks. She has worked for a large and growing doctors office for 23 years as a medical transcriptionist. This position was replaced by technology but she continued to do misc needs around the office. She was "laid off" along with 1 other employee who was not in transcription. This past year the other transcription employees have taken on different postions. My mother was not offered another opportunity...

1 answer  |  asked Jan 25, 2010 8:41 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
The facts you report suggest that age may have been a factor in the decision to lay your mother off, but the mere fact that she is nearly 65 is not the only thing to be considered. What was the age of the other person laid off? What were the ages of the transcriptionists kept, and what jobs were they given? If the other person laid off was also older than the people kept, this would certainly strengthen your mother's argument. If the other transcriptionists had skills your mother didn't have that related to the positions they were given, this would weaken her case.
As with any discrimination case, your mother has the burden of presenting a prima facie case of age discrimination and ultimately proving that age was the reason for her termination. Unlike other forms of discrimination, in an age case it is not enough to show that age was a motivating factor. A recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Gross v. FBL Financial Services, held that age must be the "but for" factor for the adverse action.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Jan 26, 2010 12:19 PM [EST]

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