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Employment Discrimination - Burdens Of Proof

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In an employment discrimination suit, the aggrieved job applicant or employee will have the initial burden of establishing that he/she is entitled to protection under the relevant statute and that the employer discriminated against him/her in violation of that statute. For instance, an employee claiming race discrimination would rely on Title VII, while an employee claiming age discrimination would invoke the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. A 50-year-old disabled woman may claim protection under Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The burden of proof will then shift to the employer to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its action. By way of example, an employer may allege that a job applicant lacked the requisite skills or that an employee was discharged for poor performance, insubordination, or habitual tardiness. After the employer has offered a reason for its conduct, the burden of proof will shift back again to the job applicant or employee to show that such reason constitutes a mere pretext for discrimination.

An employee claiming violation under the Equal Pay Act will seek back pay. The amount awarded will be the difference between the aggrieved employee's wages and the wages of the employee of the opposite sex who had been performing the same job as the aggrieved employee. Back pay, reinstatement, and injunctive relief may be granted under Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is a means to remedy the wage discrimination.

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