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I lost my job: Do I have an age discrimination claim?

When an employee has many years of experience in his or her field of work, he or she will charge a premium for his or her services, and demand a much higher salary than a freshly graduated worker. It is expected in almost all industries that a more experienced, and therefore, an older worker, is more expensive to employ. They often also require a higher salary because of their responsibilities, such as their financial needs due to raising a family.

Based on these trends, it can seem suspicious when a person in his or her forties is fired for no concrete reason, and a younger, less experienced employee is hired to replace him or her. If you have been fired in a circumstance similar to this, you may be struggling financially as a result, and you may quite rightly have a suspicion that age discrimination could be to blame.

However, making a claim on the grounds of age discrimination can be difficult. Generally speaking, you must prove that you were fired based on the fact that you were of a certain age. When a company is experiencing financial issues, it is not illegal for them to terminate the employment contracts of the highest-paid workers first; this alone is not generally considered as age discrimination.

However, if you have proof that the employer who fired you made a derogatory comment about your age or the age of other workers, you may have sufficient grounds for an age discrimination claim. You should speak to any witnesses and consider the specifics of your situation before taking action, and make sure to do adequate research on employee rights.

Source: Forbes, "What It Takes To Win An Age Discrimination Suit," accessed Nov. 29, 2017

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