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Supreme Court to hear age discrimination-related case

Indiana is not one of the states under the jurisdiction of two appeals courts that ruled that age bias can play a part up to a point in employment decisions for federal employees, but an upcoming Supreme Court decision will have a nationwide impact. According to the 9th Circuit and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 only applies for federal employees if age bias is demonstrated to be the reason for not hiring someone, firing him or her or another adverse action as opposed to it being a factor.

However, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the intent of the ADEA was for age bias to not be a factor at all. The Supreme Court will make a definitive ruling about what kind of protection federal employees have in a case involving five Florida pharmacists older than 50 who claimed they were shut out of a higher-paying position with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The ADEA has been less effective in general at protecting older workers than Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is at shielding workers from discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, color and religion. This is because the standards of causation have generally been interpreted differently.

People who are 40 and older and believe they are facing age discrimination in the workplace may want to consult an attorney about their options. Age discrimination can be subtle and may include targeting certain age groups with job ads or attempting to push out older workers in order to hire younger individuals for lower salaries. Employees may want to document any incidents related to discrimination as well as any positive feedback since an employer may argue that an adverse action is performance-based.

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