U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. of the Southern District of New York threw out the paralegal”s age discrimination claims because, he said, they were speculative and unsupported by plausible facts.
But what is a plausible fact?
Judge Carter is around the same age as the plaintiff in the case, Terri Jablonski, 49, and that’s where the similarities end. He’s a male graduate of Harvard Law School who was appointed to his position by President Barack Obama in 2011. He earns around $200,000 a year and enjoys lifetime tenure.
Jablonski is a female Haverford College graduate who earned a paralegal certificate from New York University. She has 19 years of experience as a paralegal and, according to her attorney, excellent references. But she has hit a roadblock.
Jablonski filed 41 unsuccessful job applications with the legal staffing firm, Special Counsel, Inc., from August 2, 2013 to July 21, 2015. She was never hired or even referred for placement.
Judge Carter said Jablonski failed to prove that “Special Counsel knew of the age difference between Jablonski and the individual who was hired for the position(s) she applied for.”
Jablonski’s attorney, Maria Estelle Jablonski, told the New York Law Journal that Special Counsel uses an “applicant tracking system” that analyzes applicants’ resumes and screens out applicants who exceed a certain age or who are unemployed. She said Special Counsel knew her client “was over 40 and [we] knew from their resume graduation dates that they hired substantially younger applicants in their 20s.”
Jablonski’s attorney said Special Counsel hired mostly recent graduates, some having no experience or degree.
It is widely known that employers use computer software today to screen out older applicants. These programs are adept at accurately analyzing the applicant’s age through years of experience and graduation dates. And then there is the overwhelming research that older women are most affected by age discrimination in hiring . A recent study found that women experience age discrimination at the age of 45, at least a decade earlier than men.
Judge Carter concluded that Jablonski “merely asserts that other applicants hired or referred for placement by Special Counsel were younger and less qualified than her, which is ‘entirely conclusory, naked, and devoid of further factual enhancement,’ and thus not entitled to a presumption that it is true.”
The definition of plausible is “seeming reasonable.” Personally, the only thing that I find to be not plausible in this matter is Judge Carter’s decision.