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In order to potentially have a legal claim, you'd have to be able to prove that these new hires are making more money with less experience due to discrimination (such as your race, religion, age, sex, disability or national origin).
There are two types of evidence that can be used to prove discrimination: direct and circumstantial.
Direct evidence is the best way to show that discrimination occurred. Direct evidence of discrimination includes statements by managers or supervisors that directly relate the adverse action taken against you to your protected class status.
For example, if your employer tells you that they are hiring these new employees and giving them more money because you're told old, or because they're not minorities, you have direct evidence that your protected class status was the cause of your termination. This evidence can be in the form of verbal comments or statements written in letters, memos, or notes.
The likelihood of obtaining direct evidence of discrimination is extremely slim. Supervisors and other company personnel are too sophisticated and too well-trained by their own attorneys to openly express their biases and prejudices. In almost every case, an employee must rely on circumstantial evidence to create a presumption of discrimination.
To show circumstantial evidence, you must first establish:
1) You are a member of a protected class (such as a minority)
2) You are qualified for your position
3) The employer took adverse action against you (e.g., with promotions, hiring, firing, bonuses, etc)
4) You were replaced by a person who is not in your protected class (or in the case of age discrimination, someone younger then you).
If you can establish these things, then the law presumes that that your protected class was the reason for the adverse action. From there, you must be able to present circumstantial evidence of discrimination. These can include a history of comments or remarks from your employer (e.g., "Older people shouldn't be on the job", "We don't want African American nurses here"), a history of similar bias or treatment by your employer toward other employees, noticeably fewer employees in your protected class versus other employees, and so forth.
In court, an employer has the opportunity to offer a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its conduct. The law only requires the employer to articulate, or state, a reason for its conduct. It does not have to prove that it is the true reason.
A company can almost always come up with some reason for the action that it took. Once the employer articulates this reason, your presumption of discrimination is gone and you will have to offer additional evidence. In other words, if they lie and say "We pay these employees more because people just out of school have learned more and are better trained" or some other reason...then you have to present other evidence, such as being able to prove that the statements are untrue.
Bot***** *****ne -the question of "do you have a case" is not a simple yes or no. It requires careful review and analysis of all of the facts and information, and it's not easy to establish a claim. That said, I think given the limited information provided, there's certainly no harm in you consulting with an employment lawyer in your area. Many offer free or low cost consultations, and there's never an obligation to hire them. After a full case evaluation, you should have a better idea of whether there is something worth pursuing legally or not.
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