Disparate impact occurs when a policy impacts a protected group more harshly. The Eleventh Circuit siding with the First, Third, Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Circuit do not permit ADEA disparate impact claims. The Second, Eighth and Ninth Circuit disagree.

An employee suffering from pancreatitis told his insurance company that he could not return to work. The Fifth Circuit holds that when an employee can’t work, he can’t claim retaliation under the ADEA.

The First Circuit found that an employer fired two employees in “an insensitive overreaction to a series of minor transgressions.” However, the entire age discrimination claim was that plaintiffs were over 40, fired and replaced with younger employees, who were also over 40. Finding no discriminatory intent, even though the jury was justified in disbelieving defendant’s stated reasons for firing plaintiffs, the First Circuit was compelled to overturn the large jury verdict.

Plaintiff’s self-serving, conclusory affidavit doesn’t make an ADEA case. Dismissing a 60 year-old employee because, based on seniority and benefit level, he costs more to employ does not violate the ADEA.

Former supervisors inquiring about an employee’s retirement plans and the president’s concern about plaintiff’s age when making the decision to discharge did not provide enough evidence to try the case. The supervisors did not participate in the discharge decision and the president was being “prudent.”

Sidley & Austin required many partners to retire and demoted others to expand opportunities for younger attorneys. The EEOC argues that the demoted employees were really employees because they did not help manage the law firm. The EEOC is now investigating whether the firm violated the ADEA.

Although a 60-year old sales manager established a prima facie case of age discrimination, his case was dismissed on summary judgment. The Eighth Circuit found that even though plaintiff may have “set forth sufficient evidence to reject Nextel’s explanations for termination … no rational fact finder could conclude Mayer’s termination was discriminatory because no evidence creates a reasonable inference that age was the determinative factor.”

An employee of a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign corporation sued the subsidiary (her employer) and the foreign parent using the single employer doctrine. The ADEA does not permit suing the foreign parent.

An elementary school teacher was fired for 31 reasons grounded in unprofessional and insubordinate behavior. Because there was no concrete evidence that younger workers were treated more favorable and because the teacher could not prove that any of the 31 reasons were pretext for age discrimination, the age claim was dismissed on summary judgment.

The EEOC has issued final rules that relate to releases and the ADEA. Releases that require employees to return money before filing an age discrimination claim no longer bar an ADEA claim if the money is not “tendered back.”