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What Are The 2 Types Of Age Discrimination?

By Corey Hanrahan

What are the two types of age discrimination? Age discrimination in California can be proven in one of two ways: (1) disparate impact, and (2) disparate treatment. 

“…Age discrimination in California can be proven in one of two ways: (1) disparate impact, and (2) disparate treatment

The disparate impact theory is a theory in which age discrimination is proven by showing that an employer’s actions have a disparate impact on older workers as a group. California law allows these claims to be based on a comparison of two groups of workers age 40 and over.

A disparate treatment claim is a showing that one single employee was discriminated against based on his/her age. This is normally done by showing that age motivated the employer’s treatment of the employee, and a showing that the employee’s stated reason for the action is pretext (i.e., a lie). 

Photo of Young team leader correcting offended senior employee scolding for mistake and in need of a workplace discrimination attorney in San Diego

A disparate treatment claim is analyzed using a three-step test referred to as the “McDonnel Douglas” test. Under the McDonnel Douglas test, the burden starts with the employee. The employee must prove that there are facts that support that the employer’s conduct was motivated by the employee’s age. If the employee meets the burden of proving that there is evidence that the employer’s conduct was age-based, the burden then shifts to the employer to prove that it had a nondiscriminatory, legitimate business reason for taking the action it did (therefore, showing it was not age discrimination). If the employer is able to establish that, the burden shifts back to the employee to prove that the employer’s proffered legitimate reason for taking the discriminatory action was pretextual (meaning simply an excuse by the employer to cover up the true illegal reason). 

An experienced age discrimination lawyer will have the ability to analyze your case based on the facts at hand. If you have been subjected to age discrimination at work, contact The Hanrahan Firm for a free consultation. 


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