Split Developing On ADEA Disparate Impact Claims

A federal judge in California recently ruled that PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC (“PwC”) must defend against a class action claim of unintentional age discrimination.  Rabin v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, No. 16-cv-02276-JST (N.D. Cal. Feb. 17, 2017). On April 17, 2016, Steve Rabin, on behalf of himself and other similarly situated unsuccessful job applicants, filed a putative class action alleging that PwC maintains hiring policies and other...
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Non-Renewal of Contract or Termination?

Employers often think that not renewing an employee’s contract is somehow qualitatively different from a termination of employment.  In some cases, and in certain limited circumstances, that may be true.  It is not true, however, with regard to statutory retaliation claims (e.g., my contract was not renewed because I engaged in activity protected by Title VII, the ADA, the FLSA, or some other statute containing anti-retaliation provisions).  In...
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Appellate Court Holds That ADEA Plaintiffs Can Use Employees Over 40 as Comparators

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
01/18/2017
In Karlo, et al. v. Pittsburgh Glass Works, LLC (no. 15-3435; filed January 10, 2017), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that plaintiffs in an ADEA disparate impact claim can make out a prima facie case by showing that certain age subgroups within the protected class were treated differently from other subgroups within that same class.  Put another way, an employer cannot simply lump all those employees over the age of 40 into one pot when...
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Officer’s Behavior Dooms Discrimination Claims

A recent decision from a D.C. federal court offers a reminder that employers who investigate workplace disputes and make employment decisions based on documented evidence put themselves in a better position to defeat lawsuits challenging those decisions.  Ladson v. George Wash. Univ., No. 14-cv-001586 (D.D.C. Sept. 1, 2016). Todd Ladson was a 24 year veteran of the George Washington University (GW) campus police when, in 2013, he was accused of...
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Appellate Court Holds That Applicants May Bring Disparate Impact Claim Under ADEA

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
12/04/2015
In 2005, the Supreme Court concluded that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which prohibits discrimination against individuals who are at least 40 years old, provides not only for (1) disparate treatment claims, in which there is intentional discrimination by an employer because of protected status, but also for (2) disparate impact claims, in which facially neutral employment practices “fall more harshly on one group than...
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Are You Ever "Too Old" For Cereal? Kellogg's Thinks So. And Got In Trouble.

Kellogg USA finds itself facing a jury trial.  In McCartt v. Kellogg USA, Inc., No. 5:14-318-DCR (E.D. Ky. Oct. 14, 2015), a former sales representative, James McCartt, was over age 60 when he was fired in a corporate downsizing. He sued for age discrimination because his manager, Kevin Grzanka, had made an age based comment about his performance.  His unwise manager had said that Mr. McCartt was "too old and set in his ways" and that Kellogg and...
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Ageist Comments Not Enough to Defeat Summary Judgment

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
06/15/2015
A supervisor's use of the words "old school" and "historically" were not enough to get a  50 year old employee's claim of discriminatory termination to a jury.  In  a June 12, 2015 ruling, the  United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment to the employer, Gallup Inc.  Wagner v. Gallup Inc., No. 14-2746 (8th Cir. 6/12/15). The terminated employee, Rodd Wagner, worked for Gallup as  a subject matter...
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Nipple-Squeezing Manager Not Guilty of Harassment

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
12/09/2014
Donald Rickard worked in sales for tobacco company Swedish Match North America, Inc. (SMNA) for nearly 30 years. He retired in 2011 at 55 years old. Shortly thereafter, Rickard sued SMNA claiming, in part, that he was harassed by his supervisor, Perry Payne, because of his age and gender. Rickard v. Swedish Match N. Am., Inc., No. 13-3729 (8th Cir. Dec. 2, 2014). Rickard and Payne (age 54) did not see eye to eye. Rickard “objected to Payne’s...
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EEOC May Sue State Court for Discrimination in Federal Court

A federal court ruled that a Pennsylvania state court that allegedly fired an employee because of her age does not have 11th Amendment immunity to avoid a lawsuit on the fired employee's behalf brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.  EEOC v. Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny Cnty., No. 14-899 (W.D. Pa., Oct. 15, 2014). In February 2012, a staffing agency assigned 70 year old  Carolyn...
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Court Upholds $3.7 Million Age Discrimination Verdict Against IBM

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
07/27/2014
On July 23, 2014, a  federal court in Connecticut  upheld a jury's award of $3.7 million to a 61 year old executive fired after 41 years with IBM. Castellucio v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp. (D. Conn. No 3:09-cv-01145 July 23, 2014).  The Court held that the jury properly awarded $2.5 million for age discrimination, and an additional $1.2 million for attorneys' fees and costs. The case arose when Joanne Collins-Smee became Castellucio's supervisor,...
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