Skip to comments.U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Reach of Age Bias Law
Posted on 03/30/2005 10:42:10 AM PST by Crackingham
Workers 40 or older can sue their employers for practices that favor younger workers even if there was no intentional bias, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in an important age discrimination case.
The decision upheld the reach of the 1967 federal law that bars discrimination based on age and covers an estimated 75 million workers 40 or older, who account for about half the U.S. civilian labor force.
By a 5-3 vote, the justices ruled the law did cover policies that have a "disparate impact" on older workers, even if the employer was not motivated by intentional discrimination.
Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in the main opinion that a federal appeals court was wrong to hold that such claims never could be brought under the law.
Business groups had warned they could face expensive lawsuits in arguing for a narrow interpretation of the age bias law while AARP, the advocacy group for those 50 or older, had supported allowing workers to sue for such claims.
"This is a major boost for the fight to eliminate age discrimination in the workplace," said Laurie McCann, a senior attorney for AARP, in calling the high court's decision "enormously significant."
Just wait till they see what kind of expensive lawsuits they encounter if the gay activists ever succeed at getting "sexual orientation" anti-discrimination laws in place.
...at 34 I'm considered "older"? I'm only SIX years away from being a "protected class"? *sigh* Where have all the years gone?
Don't feel so bad, you will soon qualify for senior's discounts!
We might as well do away with the Executive and Legislative branches of government. The Judiciary interprets, makes, and enforces the laws with impunity.
I can smell the golden parachutes now.
So if I have this right, it doesn't matter that a company didn't intend discrimination...people can still sue over discrimination? Wha?
Believe it or not, Scalia agrees with this decision but O'Connon does not.
O'Connon = O'Connor
Don't worry, you can't be fired because of your age.
BUT, you CAN be "removed from your misery", in a painless, beautiful manner. Just head for Florida. . .
I know a number of older, competent people, who would were FAR below the "golden parachute" level, who have been "engineered" out of the work place (by those WITH "golden parachutes") primarily because they were compensated at a higher rate than a younger replacement would be.
Is that fair? That's debatable, but that's business...and no one on the receiving end of that equation likes it.
Read the opinions of the Court. This is out of control judicial activism. The court ruled that the specific case, brought by some older police officers, had no validity. But it ruled that, in general, you did not have to prove intent to be biased. The 9 mullahs should only have said whether the case was valid or not. Instead, they went beyond that to make up a new law.
COOL! Now, back to our regularly scheduled FReeping ...
Congress can amend the statute to require proof of deliberate intent, i.e. change the result of the case. Whether it will have the political courage to do so is an entirely separate question. Don't bet the ranch.
I'm filing a race-based class action against the NBA. Their hiring policies obvious have a "disparate impact" on white guys who can't jump.
Suppose that you worked in an office for, say, a company that wanted to project a youthful image, so all the "older" workers were sequestered in the back of the building, where visitors wouldn't see them.
But the company doesn't MEAN to discriminate!
So when promotion and raise time comes around, who does the boss think of first?
The ones he sees first?
Does this sound fair to you? If so, I think there's probably a nice Mid Eastern country where you'd be every happy.
THAT will be their next decision!!!
Boy I can't wait!!!/s
They will reinstitute the Dred Scott ruling and apply it retroactively.
It ain't the age, Darlin'...
it's the mileage! :)
That's a surprise. A big surprise. My position is that employers should be able to discriminate on anything they please: sex, race, age, the color of your hair or the second letter in your last name. It's their business isn't it?
Maybe I should sue Hooters for age and sex discrimination. It's not fair. They don't have enough grumpy old men serving beer and onion rings.
Oh please. All eight Justices agreed that any claims would be strictly limited by RFOA (Reasonable factor other than age).
And as for your claim that they just decide the specific case -- true enough, but they have to first interpret the law and decide what the specific intent is before applying that reasoning to a result. The eight justices came to three different comclusions on the interpretation, but ended up with the same result in the case.
I get the feeling that some folks see judicial activism much as some saw Communism in the Fifties -- yes, it exists, but we won't find it in every decision or under your mother's bed.
Well, not a big surprise. What's the average age of the Supremes? 84??
He's just running left for his re-election like Santorum.
All eight justices agreed that a disparate impact is OK if based on a reasonable factor other than age. I'm sure all of them, and 99% of Freepers, would agree that nobody would go to a restaurant that openly displayed your aged man-boobs -- or mine either.
Are they all PVS
I just skimmed through Scalia's dissent and was persuaded that, based upon his judicial philosophy, he is probably right. His decision does not stand as an endorsement of the EEOC /ADEA actions; he states only that, based upon the promulgated rules, it would strain logic to say that "disparate impact" cannot give rise to claim.
Can there be any question what Scalia personally thinks of "disparate impact" legislation?
The fact that Scalia ruled this way further illustrates how (thankfully) out of step he is with the other activist judges on the court. To Scalia, text enacted through legislation is the law and, however misguided, should be followed.
No but by consulting foriegn law the court determined that we owe the world a living. I thought this ruling had already been made in the Consolitated Coin case anyway.
>>My position is that employers should be able to discriminate on anything they please: sex, race, age, the color of your hair or the second letter in your last name. It's their business isn't it?<<
I agree. It's an essential element of freedom.
And if you think you've been treated unfairly, there are plenty of ways (without getting lawyers or the courts involved) to strike back at someone who's practicing discrimination. Get all of your friends to (legally and peacefully) picket the company. Boycott. Start your own business, or invest in one of the company's competitors. Take out a (truthful) ad in your local paper.
These actions are effective means in the free market to deal with discrimination. On the other hand, their success isn't guaranteed, which demonstrates an inescapable fact: Life Isn't Fair.
Prejudice exists everywhere, and discrimination is practiced by everyone in every walk of life. I, for example, would never choose cherry ice cream if chocolate was available. I don't care if it's "just as good".
I didn't think Scalia was up for re-election?
Unworkable unless they are required to put their discriminatory hiring practices in writing, and post them publicly so that their customers can exercise their right to discriminate against them.
What you propose is what companies try to get away with now. Discriminating against employes and then lying about their reasons.
Actually, smart employers know that most seniors have a significanly better work ethic than a lot of younger employees. I understand it's offset somewhat by higher insurance costs but if the employers would sign on for Medical Savings Accounts that would be taken care of. The employer usually pays for the policy that picks up catastrophic illness, the employee puts his portion of the insurance premium into a savings account and what is not used up can be rolled into retirement accounts. Good solution for everyone (especially the younger crowd)
Just make certain that the discounts are NOT from AARP!
The law has its good side and it's bad side. The problem I see is that discrimination can't readily be proved. There are all ways around it. I have a paralegal cert. and for the most part am too old be considered hirable (I am 47). The ideal candidate is a Hispanic female in her 20's. I am a middle aged white guy (although I speak reasonable Spanish) with a booty that really isn't worth looking at. What can I do? As far as gays jumping on board the anti-discrimination band-wagon, they already have. If I were an employer how would I know you're gay unless it's Sooooo obvious or you tell me? There are so many ways for employers to get around this one (as they have been doing) The ruling is just going to clog up the courts even further.
More work for me (I practice employment law for employers).
Huh? My employer told me that the balance in the pre-tax medical savings account they offer disappears at the end of each year, and can't be "rolled" into anything else.
This happened to me. Contemplating litigation.
Use it or lose it at the end of the year.
Don't get sick in January, eh?
I was j/k. I thought it was a funny explanation for his vote in support of this lawsuit.
It's called disparate impact, and has been used for years to prove discrimination with regard to sex and race - this just rightly expands it to age. Let me give you an (admittedly out-there) example. A hotel owner is tired of long hair clogging up his maid's vacuums, so he decides to no longer rent rooms to people with long hair. However, women are much more likely to have long hair than men. Even though he is not intending to, the hotel owner is discriminating against women.
Did they change the law? I know that was what was in the original bill. The best part of that would be the advantage to young people.
The old (and still around) Flexible Spending Accounts are use it or lose it, the new Medical Savings Accounts (which I think are tied to high deductible health insurance policies) are not "use it or lose it".
Aha. That would explain it. The FSAs never made any sense to me with their balances evaporating at the end of the year. MSAs make much more sense from this employee's perspective.
This employee never cared for the FSA's either. I'd like to go the MSA route though.