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Age Discrimination Law Does Not Protect Those Under 40

Beginning in 2001, David Servin began his efforts to become a Chicago police officer by taking and passing the City’s written examination. The Department put his name on the eligibility list for a position as a probationary police officer. Under the City’s system, the eligibility list contains the names of all the individuals who have passed the written examination. The names on the list are randomly ranked, and, once…

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Supreme Court Holds Small Public Employers Subject To Age Discrimination Law

Faced with a budget shortfall, Mount Lemmon Fire District, a political subdivision in Arizona, laid off its two oldest full-time firefighters, John Guido (then 46) and Dennis Rankin (then 54). Guido and Rankin sued the District, contending they had been terminated in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). When the Fire District responded that it was too small to qualify as an employer under…

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SWAT Officers Win Age Discrimination Claim

Richard Pisoni, Darren Lindsey and Mark Cameron were SWAT officers for the Illinois State Police (ISP), and were assigned to the South SWAT team, headquartered in Mount Vernon. All members of South SWAT were provided with official state vehicles, were compensated for time driving to and from their homes, and were issued cell phones. All three had been with South SWAT since at least 1999, and each was over…

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Wrong Promotional Decision Does Not Necessarily Mean Discrimination

Rudolph Diaz was a captain with the Chula Vista Fire Department in California. In 2011, when he was 56 years old, he took an examination to be placed on a one-year eligibility list for promotion to battalion chief. The examination had three components: (1) A simulation exercise, weighted at 50 percent of the examination score; (2) a written examination, weighted at 20 percent of the examination score; and (3)…

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Division Chief Wins $1.4 Million In Age Discrimination Claim

George Corley was a division chief for the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District. Corley received numerous awards for his service, and a former District fire chief testified that Corley was “doing a very good job dealing with the communities” that he served. Corley’s employee file contained no evidence of discipline. In his 2010 performance evaluation, Corley received an “exceeds standards” overall rating. In May 2011, the County of…

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Officers Entitled To Trial On Whether Changes In Exam Process Were Pretext For Age Discrimination

Greg Peterson and Souphanny Dean are Richfield, Minnesota police officers. In April 2012, Peterson sued the City, claiming that the Department engaged in age discrimination when it removed him from the special investigations unit earlier that year. A trial court ordered judgment for Peterson on September 19, 2013. In the fall of 2013, Peterson, Dean, and Brian Rogge, who were all over 40 years old, applied to be eligible…

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Firefighter Wins Age Discrimination, GINA Claims

David Lee was a firefighter/EMT for the City of Moraine, Ohio Fire Department for nearly 16 years. He was also a member of Moraine Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 2981. The City and Local 2981 had been involved in discussions for years about physical standards for the job. On November 23, 2011, Lee received an email sent to all firefighters explaining: “If you are under the age of 40,…

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Firefighter Wins Age Discrimination, GINA Claims

David Lee was a firefighter/EMT for the City of Moraine, Ohio Fire Department for nearly 16 years. He was also a member of Moraine Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 2981. The City and Local 2981 had been involved in discussions for years about physical standards for the job. On November 23, 2011, Lee received an email sent to all firefighters explaining: “If you are under the age of 40,…

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Retirement Eligibility Can Be Guise For Age Discrimination

LeRoy Hilde was a lieutenant in the Eveleth, Minnesota Police Department, and was age 51 and retirement-eligible. When the Chief retired in 2012, Hilde applied for the position and was one of four finalists for the job. The Police Commission’s protocol for hiring the Chief was to score three criteria: Weighted years of service, training and employment, and an interview. Before the interviews, Hilde led with a score of…

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Age Matters In Layoff Decisions

In 2002, Roger Dyals was hired as a lieutenant by the Camden County, Georgia Sheriff’s Department. By 2009, when Tommy Gregory was elected Sheriff, Dyals was a captain. Gregory demoted Dyals to the position of deputy fleet manager, and told Dyals, “Well, you either accept it or you can go home.” In January 2010, Dyals was demoted again, this time to courtroom deputy. Dee Grant Porter was a paramedic…

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Age Discrimination Verdict Against City Of Austin Upheld

Prior to 2009, the City of Austin, Texas Public Safety Emergency Management Department was a separate non-civil-service agency encompassing the City’s airport, park, and municipal-court law-enforcement operations. The minimum base salary for Department employees was significantly lower than that of the Austin Police Department, and there was a wider range of compensation packages for Department officers with the same rank and seniority, owing in part to the fact that…

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Federal Court: Cleveland’s Mandatory Police and Fire Retirement at 65 is Legal

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it unlawful “for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual…because of such individual’s age.” Simple, straight-forward, easy to read. So when several Cleveland, Ohio police officers forced into retirement at age 65 sued the City for violating the ADEA, a similarly-worded Ohio state statute, and the Equal Protection Clause…

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Mandatory Retirement Age For Police Upheld

Walter Mitchell, Louis Perunko, and David Mosby were police officers with the City of Gary, Indiana. When the officers were hired, a provision of the Indiana Code required that all police officers retire no later than their 65th birthday. In 1982, the City adopted an ordinance which also required that each member of the Gary Police Department must retire on or before his or her 65th birthday. In late…

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Police Chief Loses Age Discrimination Claim

John Howell was the Chief of Police of the City of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Mayor Carl Redus and Howell disagreed as to how to address the high crime rate in the City. They had numerous, animated meetings and discussions about the manner in which the Police Department should attempt to reduce crime, particularly violent crime. On March 8, 2010, Redus and Howell met, along with three deputy police chiefs…

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Officer Fired For Car Wreck, Not Because Of Age

Bob Pacovsky was fired from his position as a police officer for the City of Greenville, Mississippi when he became involved in a car wreck. Pacovsky sued the City, alleging that his discharge was really because of his age (he was 52 years old). The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Pacovsky’s lawsuit. Pacovsky’s claim revolved around his contention that similarly-situated younger officers who had been involved in…

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Legal Alert: Supreme Court Rejects ‘Mixed Motive’ Age Discrimination Claims

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a decision that could have a significant impact on employers defending Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) claims. In Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. (June 18, 2009), a 5-4 decision, the Court held that to win an ADEA claim, the individual claiming discrimination must prove that age was the “but-for” cause of the alleged adverse employment action – i.e., that the employer…

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Supreme Court Changes Legal Landscape On Scope Of Arbitration

Since the Supreme Court’s 1974 decision in Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., it has been believed that a collective bargaining agreement could not force employees to waive the right to proceed in court in lawsuits under federal statutes. Though the following 35 years of Supreme Court decisions on arbitration increasingly gave broader scope to arbitration clauses, the Court had stopped short of allowing the compulsory arbitration of a statutory claim….

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No Age Discrimination If Successful Candidate Also Over Forty

Phillip Sheridan is a lieutenant with the Jackson Township, Ohio Division of Fire. At 57 years old, he is the oldest member of the Fire Department. In 2008, Sheridan interviewed for a newly-created captain position. The Department passed over him in favor of a slightly younger, and arguably less qualified colleague. Sheridan sued the Township, claiming he was the victim of age discrimination. The Ohio Court of Appeals dismissed…

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