Lawmakers passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 to protect older workers. This law prohibits employers from taking discriminatory action against someone simply because he or she is over the age of 40. For decades, this law has helped older workers extend their careers and find new opportunities in the workplace. But, a new ruling by the U.S. Appeals Court could redefine who is and is not covered by this law.
Dale E. Kleber v. CareFusion Corporation
Dale Kleber, a 58-year-old attorney, recently applied for a position within a medical supply company’s legal department. The company, CareFusion, was looking for a candidate who had at least three years of legal experience, but no more than seven years of experience total. Dale had more than seven years of experience, but applied for the position anyways since he felt he was a good fit for the position. After conducting interviews, the company chose to hire a 29-year-old attorney who was not nearly as experienced as Dale.
After learning of this news, Dale took legal action against CareFusion. He argued that the company was discriminating against older workers by only looking for applicants with less than seven years of experience. Since older workers typically have more experience than younger workers, this seven-year-cap made them unqualified for the position.
The case was brought before the 7thU.S. Circuit Court of Public Appeals early this year. Unfortunately, the court ruled that the ADEA does not protect external job applicants from age discrimination during the hiring process. Instead, the court argued that the law was only meant to protect older workers within an organization.
What This Recent Ruling Means
How will this affect individuals who are age 40 or older? Basically, if you are currently employed, the law protects you from being discriminated against because of your age. For example, you cannot be denied opportunities or terminated simply because you are over the age of 40.
However, if you are looking for a job with a new employer, you are not protected by the ADEA. As a result, this ruling could make it harder for older individuals to find employment at a new employer. Sadly, employers may now feel like they have been given the green light to discriminate against older applicants because of this decision.
Are you a victim of age discrimination? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our experienced attorneys seek justice against your employer for violating your workplace rights. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.