February 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Two California News Anchors Fired, Allege Age Discrimination
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William Schechner and John Lobertini, popular news reporters for KPIX in San Francisco, California, were laid off after CBS required its affiliates to reduce their budgets by 10 percent. The two reporters allege that although they were experienced and performed their jobs well, they were fired based solely on the fact that they were older than most other reporters.
If these allegations are true, KPIX would be in violation of the reporters' employee rights as established by California state law.
The case was heard in the Ninth Circuit court and focused on the issue of proof. Specifically, the court discussed what was needed to establish a claim of age discrimination occurred within the state of California.
The court applied the laws established under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA.
Application of FEHA to Age Discrimination Claims: How it Works
Under FEHA it is unlawful to hire, terminate employment or deny a promotion of an employee based on his or her age. Anyone over the age of 40 qualifies for the protections granted by this law.
According to the court, an employee can prove age discrimination by demonstrating that the employee was:
-At least 40 years of age at the date of the incident
-Performed the job satisfactorily
-Was terminated from employment
-Either replaced by younger employees with equal or inferior qualifications or fired under other circumstances that infer discrimination
If an employee can prove these factors, the burden shifts to the employer to argue that age was not a factor in the decision. The employer must then prove that there was another, non-discriminatory reason for firing the employee.
How FEHA Applies During Layoffs
This case offered an example of a common problem in the current job market: people were fired, but no one was hired to take their place. In layoffs and other similar situations like this, employees alleging discrimination often have to rely on statistical evidence to make their case.
The court used this opportunity to clarify what type of information is needed to make a case using statistics. Essentially, it stated that the statistics relied on must show a "stark pattern of discrimination unexplainable on grounds other than age."
Ultimately, the court held for KPIX. The court stated the two reporters had not established that their jobs were terminated based only on their age. The station had successfully countered the reporters' claim by stating that the terminations were based on the date the employee's contract expired. Since the reporters did not properly refute this claim, they could not successfully argue that they were fired based solely on age discrimination.
Establishing that age discrimination occurred can be difficult. As a result, if you or a loved one is the victim of age discrimination it is important to contact an experienced employee rights attorney to better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.---
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