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
Supremes Make Age-Bias Suits Harder to Prove
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)

(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.

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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.
(Read more age discrimination stories.)

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