Age Discrimination is a Second-Class Claim

Age Discrimination is a Second-Class Claim

Today’s New York Times editorial page presents a brief history of the second-class status of age discrimination claims.  Although Congress is considering overturning the recent Gross case out of the Supreme Court, which erected a much higher proof standard for age discrimination claimants (see my earlier discussion of this case herehttp://marylandemploymentdevelopments.com/2009/07/16/age-discrimination-is-up-so-is-the-proof-requirement/), the problem with age discrimination has deeper roots.  Adam Cohen points out that the skepticism over whether older workers deserved protection prevented age’s inclusion in the original Civil Rights laws in 1964.  Ever since, the cases have been routinely met with judges’ labeling age-biased comments as “stray remarks.”  “You are too old for this damn job” does not sound like a stray remark to me, but the defense will continue to characterize these comments thusly until Congress speaks clearly.  Federal judges, ironically, are not forced to retire at any particular age.

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