Supremes Make Age-Bias Suits Harder to Prove
Ruling puts burden of proof on workers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2009 9:20 AM CDT
Classical music critic Donald Rosenberg of The Plain Dealer stands in front of the paper's downtown offices after filing a lawsuit claiming he was fired due to age discrimination.   (AP Photo/David Richard)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Workers who sue their employers for age discrimination will find their cases much harder to win under a Supreme Court ruling issued yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that it is up to employees who believe they were fired or demoted because of their age to prove their age was the deciding factor.

The decision—which applies only to individual workers—reverses a long-standing rule. Previously, the onus was on employers, who had to prove that they had a legitimate reason for the firing apart from age. The AARP, civil rights groups, and the dissenting judges heavily criticized the decision, which comes amid a sharp increase in the number of age bias suits reaching the courts.