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Court denies employer summary judgment in age discrimination case

Job applicants in New Jersey might recognize the excuse that too much experience disqualifies someone for a job as age discrimination. A lawsuit recently filed by a man in his early 60s concerns this tactic for denying jobs to older candidates. His employer, a microelectronics company, asked a judge to issue a summary judgment in its favor, but the judge denied the motion. The judge deemed the evidence sufficient for the age discrimination case to advance to a jury trial.

The plaintiff had worked for the company twice as a temporary employee. When he saw that a position that he had filled in for previously was vacant, he applied for the job. The position required roughly 10 years of experience. The man satisfied all requirements, but he claimed that the supervisor said that the company did not want people with excessive experience who would be "inflexible." When the company hired a 36-year-old applicant for the job, the man decided to pursue a discrimination claim.

Age discrimination has come under increasing scrutiny due to its apparent prevalence in the workplace. Large companies such as Intel and IBM have been accused of targeting older workers during mass layoffs. One study concluded that almost two-thirds of respondents age 45 to 74 acknowledged the presence of ageism at work.

When a person suspects that an employer engaged in workplace discrimination, a consultation with a lawyer could be warranted. After evaluating the situation, a lawyer might identify evidence of mistreatment because of age, sex, religion or race and recommend filing a discrimination complaint. If successful, a client might recover financial damages for lost pay and career damage.

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