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Age bias suits: New rules on ‘reasonable factors other than age’

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

THE LAW: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) bars discrimination against employees age 40 or older. Discrimination may be based either on an employer’s disparate treatment of older workers or on seemingly neutral policies that have a disparate impact on older workers.

For example, changing the compensation structure to broaden pay bands may make it harder for ­workers with more seniority to get pay raises. While such a policy affects everyone, older workers could argue that it disparately impacts their earnings and is therefore discriminatory. The employer would then have to argue that it used “reasonable factors other than age” when devising the pay scale.

WHAT’S NEW: Two U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Smith v. City of Jack­­son and Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Lab, profoundly affected the way ADEA cases are adjudicated.

The decisions cut both ways. They cleared a path for employees to bring disparate impact la...(register to read more)

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