Was Pretextual Discrimination the Reason for Your Firing?

Fort Lauderdale workers likely know that age discrimination is illegal. But what few may realize is that less-than-honest employers can use pretexts to terminate older workers in an attempt to circumvent state and federal discrimination laws.

Here's how it might go down in a workplace setting:

Technology discrimination

Today's workers in most fields are expected to at least be familiar with modern computer programs to carry out many of their daily tasks. Knowing how to write up a report in Word or print a spreadsheet in Excel requires basic computer literacy, as does operating employer-specific software programs.

Employers are will within their rights to stipulate that all workers be technologically proficient enough to carry out their job duties. What's less clear is whether an employer can mandate their employees to master the intricacies of social networks like Instagram or Twitter.

Certainly the employee in charge of managing a company's social networking sites should know their way around all of the platforms. But requiring the same of a shift supervisor or the HR department head is a slippery slope.

Employees who face censure or termination for their lack of proficiency with these programs could potentially allege that they were fired under pretext due to their ages, as it's often presumed that older workers lack the technological skills of younger workers.

Pretextual gender discrimination

This kind of discrimination can affect female employees in typically male-dominated industries. One insidious way this might affect your employment is if the job description requires physical strength that few women possess and which will not normally be necessary for that position.

Some positions require a certain amount of upper body strength, e.g., firefighters. These individuals have to be strong enough to hoist and carry victims and/or fallen colleagues out of burning buildings while wearing pounds of heavy firefighting gear. Not being able to do this can mean a loss of lives, which is never acceptable.

However, requiring a warehouse worker to be able to overhead-lift 50 lbs. or more might not be necessary and could be used to eliminate many otherwise qualified female workers.

If you know or suspect that pretextual employment discrimination was used to deny or terminate your employment with a company, you may be able to take legal action to get your job back and also recover financial compensation for your damages and losses.