The U.S. Supreme Court took on five cases this term involving allegations of workplace age bias. Rulings are out on two of the cases.
In Sprint/United Management Co. v. Mendelsohn, the Court ruled that an employee suing her employer couldn’t use “me, too” evidence â€“ testimony from employees who had different supervisors. But such evidence isn’t always out of bounds; decisions must be made case by case.
In Federal Express Corp. v. Holowecki, the Court decided what constitutes a charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. FedEx claimed that since the EEOC didn’t treat the documents it received alleging bias like a charge, the suit should have been dismissed. The Court disagreed saying the employee’s right to sue doesn’t depend on the EEOC’s taking action. It just requires that a charge be filed.
In Kentucky Retirement Systems v. EEOC, the Court is to decide whether a benefit plan discriminates against older workers by denying disability payments to employees eligible for retirement. In Gomez-Perez v. Potter, the Court will decide whether federal employees claiming age discrimination are protected from retaliation. Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Lab explores a dispute over who bears the burden of proof â€“ the workers or the employer, which claimed layoffs were unrelated to age.
EEOC settles suit against mutual fund giant
The Vanguard Group, Inc., one of the world’s largest investment management companies, will pay $500,000 and provide other relief to settle a retaliation lawsuit. The EEOC had charged that following an African-American employee’s complaints of race discrimination, Vanguard subjected him to a series of adverse employment actions culminating in his termination.