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New ADEA regulations final–with little help for employers

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

by Harold P. Coxson Jr., Esq.

On March 29, the EEOC issued a final rule amending its regulations regarding the “reasonable factors other than age” defense under the Age Discrimination in Employ­­ment Act (ADEA). The final rule, published in the Federal Register on March 30, will make it more difficult for employers to defend age-bias claims brought under the ADEA.

Addressing previous cases

The ADEA prohibits employment discrimination (whether intentional or by disparate impact) against people age 40 or older.

Disparate impact claims involve a policy that, while neutral on its face, adversely affects a traditionally disadvantaged group on a statistically significant basis. When an employee claims disparate impact, the employer may refute the charge by showing that the practice was based on “reasonable factors other than age” (RFOA). The final rule applies only to disparate im­­pact claims and the RFOA defense.

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