El Segundo Age Discrimination
The Calderone Law Firm located in El Segundo is experienced in representing clients in age discrimination lawsuits and are committed in providing you the best result. Our age discrimination lawyers, can help you evaluate and determine whether you have an age discrimination claim against your present, former or prospective employer. While many people believe that you need direct evidence of discrimination in order to prevail in a lawsuit; this is not the case, and other type of evidence including circumstantial evidence may be sufficient.
“Direct evidence” of an employer’s discriminatory motive—e.g., a statement to the effect of “I’m not hiring you for this position because of your age”—is absolutely not required for a plaintiff to prevail with the jury, not to mention at the summary judgment stage. Id.
The McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework applied in federal and California employment discrimination cases is designed to enable a plaintiff to prevail on the basis of circumstantial evidence—primarily, the plaintiff’s evidence of “pretext”—and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom. Guz, 24 Cal.4th at 354. “This so-called McDonnell Douglas test reflects the principle that direct evidence of intentional discrimination is rare, and that such claims must usually be proved circumstantially.” Id.
The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that a jury may reasonably infer discrimination based purely on the plaintiff’s showing of pretext, without any additional “direct evidence” of an employer’s discriminatory intent. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 147 (2000). While the Supreme Court acknowledged that there could be instances in which a showing of pretext was insufficient to enable a rational factfinder to infer discrimination—such as when “the record conclusively revealed some other, nondiscriminatory reason for the employer’s decision”—the Court reasoned that it is generally “permissible for the trier of fact to infer the ultimate fact of discrimination from the falsity of the employer’s explanation,” and noted that pretext evidence “may be quite persuasive.” Id.
The California Supreme Court found that Reeves confirmed the “great weight of federal and California authority” regarding the sufficiency of pretext, standing alone, to support a finding of discrimination. Guz, 24 Cal.4th at 361. As the California Supreme Court discussed the issue:
Reeves rejected several federal court of appeals decisions holding that even after the plaintiff has presented prima facie evidence sufficient to establish an inference of prohibited discrimination in the absence of explanation, and has also presented evidence that the employer’s innocent explanation is false, the employer is nonetheless necessarily entitled to judgment as a matter of law unless the plaintiff thereafter presents further evidence that the true reason was discriminatory. Contrary to these decisions, Reeves confirmed that, in a particular case, a plaintiff’s showing of pretext, combined with sufficient prima facie evidence of an act motivated by discrimination, may permit a finding of discriminatory intent, and may thus preclude judgment as a matter of law for the employer.
Guz, 24 Cal.4th at 361 (emphases in original). The Court then adopted Reeves for age discrimination claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. Id. at 362.
If an employment discrimination plaintiff in a failure to hire case puts forward evidence that his/her qualifications were “significantly better” than or “clearly superior” to those of the person hired, this evidence alone may “support an inference of discrimination.” Reeves v. MV Transportation, Inc., 186 Cal.App.4th 666, 674-75 (2010). As the court in MV Transportation found:
If a factfinder can conclude that a reasonable employer would have found the plaintiff to be significantly better qualified for the job, but this employer did not, the factfinder can legitimately infer that the employer consciously selected a less-qualified candidate—something that employers do not usually do, unless some other strong consideration, such as discrimination, enters into the picture.
MV Transportation, 186 Cal.App.4th at 674 (emphasis added) (quoting Aka v. Washington Hosp. Ctr., 156 F.3d 1284, 1294 (D.C. Cir. 1998)). The analysis of relative qualifications is objective. If the totality of the evidence allows a jury to find that “a reasonable employer would have found the plaintiff to be significantly better qualified,” the jury may infer discrimination. MV Transportation, 186 Cal.App.4th at 674.
If you have been a victim of age discrimination, contact Calderone Law Firm for a free consultation. From offices in El Segundo, our top age discrimination attorneys can provide legal representation and advise for employees throughout Los Angeles and other counties. We are committed in providing you zealous and superb representation.