While the exact process that an age discrimination claim may vary based on whether it is filed under a state or federal law as well as the arbitrator that is selected, the typical process of an age discrimination claim involves the following:
Determining the Applicability of Arbitration Rules
Employment arbitration agreements may outline the rules that apply, such as whether certain federal rules regarding arbitration will apply or if there are employer-designated rules. The parties may also have the ability to choose their own rules for the process. These rules may impact the timing of claims, evidence gathering and the selection of an arbitrator, among other things.
Reviewing Preliminary Conference Orders
Prior to arbitration, a preliminary conference may be held and various orders may be made. The conference may speak on the scheduling of the arbitration, discovery matters or other matters that may impact the outcome of the case.
Proving or Defending the Claim
Most age discrimination claims begin by the employee asserting the ways in which he or she was discriminated against on the basis of his or her age. This may be due to disparate treatment in which the employee was treated differently than younger employees, or it may be based on disparate impact because of some employment practice that was facially non-discriminatory but had a discriminatory effect on certain age groups. After presenting testimony and evidence regarding this discriminatory treatment or impact, the employer then has the opportunity to explain how the treatment or impact was not discriminatory.
Each side may give a closing argument as to why the arbitrator should rule in their favor. In complicated cases, attorneys representing each party may request to provide a closing brief to discuss the law or other issues.
Making a Decision
The arbitrator then makes a determination if the employee was wrongly discriminated against. If the arbitrator determines that he or she was, the arbitrator may also decide the amount of damages the employer must pay.