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Proving discrimination in the hiring process

Discrimination in the hiring process is illegal.  To prevail, a plaintiff must first prove that (1) he or she is a member of a class protected by law from discrimination (age, gender, race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, etc.); (2) he or she applied for an open position; (3) he or she was not selected; and (4) the employer sought to fill the position by hiring another person with similar qualifications.  The plaintiff need only show that the position remained open and the employer continued to seek applicants.  A plaintiff is not required to establish as part of his or her prima facie case that the employer filled a position with a non-protected class member.

The employer then has to persuade the court that the failure to hire the plaintiff was based on legitimate,nondiscriminatory reasons.  The plaintiff is entitled to introduce direct or circumstantial evidence to show that the alleged reasons were a pretext for discrimination.

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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