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Suppose you believe that your employer has discriminated against you because of your age. After thinking it over, perhaps you decide to sue. You file your claim. And then you wait.
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In 2011, Wal-Mart was the talk of the nation when a gender discrimination case against the huge discount store chain went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The plaintiffs in the case lost for procedural reasons, not for anything having to do with their discrimination claims. The accusations of gender discrimination have never been disproved, and several of the plaintiffs in the original case have filed new lawsuits.
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It was over before it began.
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The Supreme Court's new term started off with a bang on Oct. 7 with the oral arguments in Madigan v. Levin, a major age discrimination case. Harvey Levin, 61, was asking the Court to decide whether the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) blocked him from any asserting any claims he might otherwise have under the U.S. Constitution.
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The New York Times reported last week that the Supreme Court's 2009 ruling in Gross v. FBL Financial Services has changed the legal landscape for age discrimination cases. The problem? Even though many older workers who lose their jobs think that age discrimination played a role in their terminations, the burden of proof required is now so high that lawyers just don't see the cases as winners.
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A bipartisan group in Congress has introduced legislation to remedy two Supreme Court decisions that have made it far more difficult for older workers to prove that they have suffered from illegal discrimination because of their age.
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Is there bias in the U.S. criminal justice system? Unpublished data from a recent Gallup poll point up marked differences in views divided not only by race but also by age.
Older workers woes
For older job seekers who couldn't catch a break in recent years, there's new research that may not come as much of a surprise.
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