Can employees file age-discrimination lawsuits based on the fact that a company's action, while not discriminatory on its face, has an unfair impact on workers over age 40? In a handful of circuits (2nd, 8th and 9th) workers are allowed to use this "disparate impact" theory to bring age-bias claims. Six other circuits (1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 10th and 11th) say no. The Supreme Court was expected to make a final, decisive call on this issue. It heard oral arguments on a case in March but then dismissed the case without a decision. (Adams v. Florida Power Corp., No. 01-584) Bottom line: Continue to follow your circuit's decision.
- Bizarre, nonsensical lawsuit? Vigorous response still required
- Set up employee complaint hotline to flag managerial abuses—and stop lawsuits
- New Congress dives into employment law
- Consider consulting an attorney before stating why you terminated an employee
- Keep cases from escalating: When hot-headed manager blows up, order cooling-off period