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Supreme Ct. Sides With Employees in Age Discrimination Case

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By Admin on June 19, 2008 10:10 AM

In a decision that may make it easier for workers to show that they have suffered age discrimination on the job, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that employers who implement policies that have a disproportionately negative impact on older employees -- such as layoffs -- bear the burden of proving that the action was motivated by a reasonable factor other than an employee's age.

The plaintiffs in the case were subjected to a layoff in which 30 of 31 employees were over 40 years of age, and filed a "disparate impact" suit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). In Thursday's 7-1 decision, the Court held that an employer facing such a disparate-impact claim under the ADEA -- and claiming that an employment decision was based on "reasonable factors other than age" -- has the burden of proving both the valid non-age factors and the reasonableness of the decision.