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Plaintiffs must have a Triable Issue to Pursue Discrimination Claims

On September 26, 2011 in Earl v. Nielsen Media Research, Inc. (US Court of Appeals – 9th Circuit, No. 09-17477) the court held that in order to raise a case of employment discrimination the plaintiff must first raise a case of discrimination, which the employer must rebut with a non-discriminatory explanation. When the plaintiff responds, (s)he must raise a triable issue on how employer's reasoning is a pretext for unlawful discrimination.

In this case, the forty-seven year old plaintiff was placed on a developmental improvement plan, a non-disciplinary process to improve the work product. Months later, the plaintiff was terminated from her position and replaced with employees in their 20s and early 30s. The court found that this constituted a triable issue of pretext because younger, similarly situated employees were given preferential treatment. Critically, the former employee had never been formally disciplined before terminating her and replacing her with younger employees, which constituted a deviation from the defendant's normal procedure.

There are many aspects of employment law that the firm will be able to assist with. If you are filing a discrimination claim and would like to discuss your case with an exprienced Southern California employment law attorney then please contact Spray, Gould & Bowers LLP to discuss your legal situation today. Don't hesitate to seek the representation you deserve by contacting a member of our legal team.

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