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Court nixes Section 1983 protection for age bias cases

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to expand the ways in which employees can charge their employers with age discrimination.

Recent case: Bella Pechon tried to sue her former employer, claiming her boss fired her because she was “too old.” But she couldn’t sue under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) because she missed the deadline to file an EEOC complaint alleging age discrimination.

Instead, she argued that Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, which guarantees equal protection for all citizens, also protects the elderly from discrimination in employment.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals would have none of it. The court ruled that the ADEA pre-empts Section 1983 when it comes to age discrimination. (Pechon v. Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, No. 09-30731, 5th Cir., 2010)

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