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Knowing when you have an age discrimination case in Delaware

Employees who are at least 40 years old should know the more prevalent signs of potential age discrimination.

Employees who are at least 40 years old might be close to the age of retirement, but that does not necessarily mean they do not need to keep working until they ready to retire in Delaware. When employers fire older workers, there is a chance the employee might be a victim of wrongful termination based on her or his age. To better determine one way or another, it is essential to know some of the most common signs of potential age discrimination.

Comparison and comments

Some comments are obviously ageist, such as disparaging nicknames like "grandma" or "old man." Employers might also say they desire their company to have a younger image. In any case, such comments should be documented.

Employers might also show bias towards younger employees, such as promoting them over older workers who are equally qualified or giving younger employees better assignments and equipment. If a company is going through layoffs, older workers might be targeted first even though they are still well-qualified to fulfill their positions.

Hiring patterns

Employers might also start hiring only younger employees and push out older employees. As for younger employees who already work at the company, age discrimination might be the reason they receive a promotion over a better-qualified older employee.


Older employees could also start to feel attacked and harassed at work. This might be a tactic to force the older worker to quit rather than the employer having to terminate him or her. Employees should take note of such incidents and get in touch with anyone who might have witnessed the harassment to build a stronger case.

Not being allowed to participate in employee benefits plans

Companies are not legally allowed to deny older workers the right to participate in employee benefits plan. What is more is employers do not have the right to reduce an employee's benefits because that employee is older. That is, unless the price of that benefit goes up because of the employee's age, such as it does with life insurance. Under those circumstances, the company has to pay the same price for older employees as it does younger employees for it not to be considered age discrimination.

Sudden performance issues

If an older employee suddenly starts receiving negative performance reviews when she or he continues to display the same satisfactory behavior and performance at work, it could be a case of employment discrimination.

No matter the sign, older Delaware employees who feel they might have been terminated because of their age have options. Reaching out to a lawyer to discuss those options and learn more about an older employee's legal rights is often a solid bet.

View Cases

  • Sheridan v. E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 100 F.3d 1061 (3rd Cir. 1996) (en banc) (Plaintiff's jury verdict and the "pretext only" paradigm for proof of intentional discrimination established).
  • Hawkins v. Division of State Police, et al., C.A. No. 99-297-SLR (Religious discrimination case which successfully obtained an offer of judgment and caused the State to stop using the MMPI-1.
  • Miller v. Daimler Chrysler Corp., C. A. No. 01-827-JJF (D.Del. 2003) (Race Discrimination claim survived Motion for Summary Judgment).
  • Panaro v. J.C. Penny, Inc., C.A. 01C-02-010 JOH, 2002 WL 130692 (Del. Super. 2002)(In a personal injury case, admission into evidence of direct examination of deceased deponent/plaintiff does not.
  • Price, et al. v. L. Aaron Chaffinch, et al., C.A. No. 04-956-GMS, 2006 WL 1313178 (D.Del. 2006) (First Amendment Retaliation, Petitions Clause and Defamation Claims survived Motion for Summary Judgment).
  • Reyes v. Freebery, 141 Fed. Appx. 49 (3d Cir. 2005) (per curiam) remanding to District Court to explain its restrictions on the public's right to access to judicial records and counsel's First Amendment.
  • Underwood v. Sear Roebuck and Co., 343 F.Supp.2d 259 (D.Del. 2004) (Gender discrimination claim survived Motion for Summary Judgment).
  • Shotzberger v. State of Delaware Dept. Of Correction, 2004 WL 758354 (D.Del. Jan. 30, 2004) (Gender discrimination claim survived Motion for Summary Judgement).
  • Stull v. Thomas S. Neuberger, P.A., 2003 WL 21481016 (Del. Super. Febr. 28, 2003) (Effect of Delaware accord and satisfaction law on a contract for legal services).
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