Officer Fails To Prove That Traffic Is Subjectively Better Than Patrol

Michael Mach, age 50, is a deputy sheriff with the Will County, Illinois Sheriff’s Department. When the Department involuntarily transferred Mach from an assignment in Traffic to one in Patrol, he sued, alleging that his transfer was the product of age discrimination.

A federal court turned away Mach’s lawsuit. The Court found that for a transfer to be the basis for an age discrimination claim, an employee would have to show that the transfer was “materially adverse.” The Court observed that “there is no difference in salary or benefits between Traffic and Patrol. Mach claims a loss of prestige, but offers no proof of this either in the eyes of the public (which may in fact regard Patrol as more prestigious than Traffic) or in the eyes of professional police officers outside or within his Department. Prestige is unquantifiable and it is difficult to see how it can be a material adverse action. Mach has not presented sufficient objective evidence that Traffic is objectively better than Patrol. Accordingly, he has failed to allege the requisite adverse employment action.”

Mach v. Will County Sheriff, 2008 WL 2692018 (N.D.Ill. 2008).

This article appears in the November 2008 issue