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Showing 13 posts in Age Discrimination.

The Seventh Circuit Clarifies Evidentiary Standards in Employment Discrimination Cases

In Ortiz v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., the Seventh Circuit stated in very clear terms that lower courts and parties to discrimination actions should not divide evidence into direct and circumstantial buckets under the familiar direct and indirect methods of proving discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court’s instruction should apply with equal force to claims brought under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. More ›

EEOC’s Updated Retaliation Enforcement Guidance Seeks to Expand the Reach of its Anti-Retaliation Laws

Effectively responding to employee discrimination complaints by current employees without running afoul of federal and state anti-retaliation laws presents a slippery slope for all employers. In fact, retaliation complaints make up nearly half of all discrimination charges filed with the EEOC today. Thus, it is critical that employers, their managers, supervisors, and employees understand who the laws protect and what constitutes retaliation.

On Thursday the EEOC sought to clarify these standards by issuing updated proposed enforcement guidance. The proposal is the first update to the EEOC’s Compliance Manual since 1998. The proposal was prompted by significant developments in the law and the marked increase of retaliation claims over the last eighteen years.

The 76-page proposal covers the definition of retaliation, the elements of a retaliation claim, interference claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, remedies, and best practices.  Rather than summarize all of the above, I will highlight the most significant developments below. More ›

Federal Judge: Did Employer use Experience Requirement to "Weed Out" Older Workers? Maybe.

Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

I add: “Until your employer cares. Then it matters.” More ›

Eighth Circuit Permits Employee to Maintain age bias Claim Based on Company's Age-Based Health Care Considerations

With the rising costs of health care benefits for both employers and employees alike, a recent case out of the Eighth Circuit provides an important reminder that even seemingly innocuous cost control measures can have a discriminatory impact and can land an employer in hot water. More ›

Security Guard Terminated After Incident with Psychiatric Patient Cannot Advance Discrimination Claims

The Sixth Circuit recently upheld a Michigan district court's decision to dismiss a 52-year-old African-American female security guard's age, race, and sex discrimination claims arising from her discharge following an incident with a combative psychiatric patient at the hospital where she worked. More ›

Court Upholds Contractual Six-Month Filing Deadline for Age Discrimination Claim

After an employee for a delivery service was terminated, he filed an age discrimination claim against his employer. In addition to defending the matter on the merits, the employer also argued that employee's age claim was time-barred due to a six-month limitation period included within the employee's employment agreement. The employee argued that the provision was unenforceable because it foreclosed his ability to wait and receive a right to sue notice from the EEOC before bringing suit. In rejecting this argument, the Sixth Circuit pointed to the fact that claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), unlike claims brought pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, do not require an employee to receive a right to sue notice as a precondition to filing suit. Rather, an employee can file suit 60 days after filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Consequently, the provision did not impair the employee's rights and was held to bar his ADEA claim. In light of this holding, coupled with recent strong Supreme Court support for the enforceability of class waivers within employment agreements, employers should evaluate their use of employment agreements within the workforce and determine if additional protections can be incorporated.

For more information read Dekarske v. Fed. Ex. Corp., No. 11-12132 (E.D. Mich. Sep. 9, 2013).

Supervisor who told Employee she was “too old” not Responsible for Firing

A 61 year-old employee's supervisor made age-related comments over a four month period. Later, while informing the employee that she was being fired, the supervisor suggested that the employee was "too old" for the job. The employee sued her former employer for age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") and the state's civil rights act. The trial court dismissed the employee's lawsuit and the employee filed an appeal. More ›

Isolated Age Comment Insufficient to Overcome Employer’s Legitimate Reason for Layoff

The technology company, which manufactured components for large-scale computer networks and data storage systems, employed a team of sales account managers. This particular account manager was successful in generating significant revenue for the company over the course of several years. The Company began to make changes to procedures and started to cut costs due to the downturn in the economy and the industry changes in terms of how data is stored, which ultimately led to the reduction in force of the sales team from five employees to two. The account manager, however, felt that this rationale was a pretext for age discrimination, and that he was selected for lay off because of his age. To back this up, he pointed to comments made by the vice president of sales about needing to “re-energize” the team, which he considered disparaging remarks regarding the ages of the sales team. He accordingly filed a charge with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, who dismissed the complaint for a lack of probable cause. He then filed suit in state court, claiming, among other things, age discrimination under Massachusetts law. The employer removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts based on diversity jurisdiction, and then moved for summary judgment on all counts. The district court granted this motion, and Woodward appealed. More ›

11th Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment in ADEA case where Plaintiff used "Cat’s Paw" Theory

Not all well-designed plans succeed. In the area of employment terminations, however, the practice of having termination decisions made independently by someone other than the employee's immediate supervisor increases the odds of obtaining summary judgment and avoiding trial. More ›

11th Circuit Overrules Summary Judgment in ADEA Case Based On Vice-President’s Reputed Statement

The case of Kragor v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., No. 11-16052 (11th Cir. December 20, 2012) reminds employers how easily summary judgment can slip away in a discrimination case based on statements attributed to senior management. The court started its analysis with a quote from the mathematician, physicist, and philosopher Blaise Pascal. "Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth." Given that plaintiff appealed a summary judgment granted to the employer, such words signaled a reversal on appeal. More ›

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