It's Now Harder to Fight Age Discrimination Suits, Thanks to Supreme Court Ruling

Ann All

The technology industry is often seen as favoring young hotshots over more experienced employees. Earlier this year, I wrote a blog about that preference, citing research from both Duke University's Vivek Wadhwa and University of California professor Norm Matloff.

 

It's possible that this inclination could cost some tech companies, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling which makes it easier for older employees to claim discrimination. The 7-1 decision shifts the burden from employees to employers to prove there was a valid reason other than age for firing older workers, according to a Reuters story.

 

The case involves a group of over-40 workers laid off from their jobs at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, owned by Lockheed Martin Corp., in 1996. The workers accused the company of violating the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In the original lawsuit, a jury found that while there was no discriminatory intent on the company's part, the layoffs did result in discrimination. A federal appeals court later sided with Knolls.

 

In his majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice David Souter noted that the decision would make it harder and more expensive for companies to defend themselves in age discrimination suits.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jan 8, 2009 12:46 PM rachel rachel  says:
This is not isolated. Avaya has a nasty habit of laying off folks over 50 with great frequency and gay abandon. No one has called them on it - YET. They did it again - Monday, Jan 5th, 2009.There is so much happening in violation of the law - it would take an army to protect the American worker. Reply

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