For years, Washington courts have held that employment discrimination plaintiffs must prove that they were replaced by someone outside of their protected class--the replacement element. For example, if the employment discrimination plaintiff was female, she had to prove she was replaced by a man; if the employment discrimination plaintiff was over 40-years of age, he or she had to prove they were replaced by someone under 40-years of age. This often created often monumental burden for employment discrimination plaintiffs.
The Washington State Supreme Court, in a decision published today (Mikkelsen v. Public Util. Dist. No. 1, 2017 Wash. LEXIS 985 (10.19.2017), held that the replacement element is not required to prove a prima facie case of employment discrimination. This decision will make it easier for employment discrimination plaintiffs to prosecute their claims and harder for employers to defeat these claims.
Contact Mark D. Walters