The U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to resolve a federal circuit split on the question of whether plaintiffs suing for age discrimination or retaliation can recover punitive damages and damages for pain and suffering.
The Court denied certiorari in a case filed by Susan L. Vaughan, 54, a former nurse supervisor who sued Anderson Regional Medical Center in Mississippi for wrongful termination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.
At the hospital’s request, a federal judge dismissed Vaughan’s claim for compensatory and punitive damages for retaliatory discharge. Currently age discrimination victims are limited to monetary loss only .
The issue harkens back to Congress’ decision in 1964 to exclude age as a protected class in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, color and national origin. Title VII’s plaintiffs are entitled to seek compensatory and punitive damages.
When Congress passed the ADEA, it incorporated the damages provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) into the ADEA.. The FLSA, a federal law that regulates the payment of overtime and minimum wage, limits damages to monetary loss only. Continue reading “Supreme Court Again Ignores Legal Inequality of Older Workers”
Here’s another case that illustrates the type of unconventional “justice” that is being meted out by the EEOC these days.
A veteran white male police officer, 48, was passed over for the position of lead police officer at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dallas, TX.
An African-American female “in her 20s” whom the EEOC agreed had spent “a relatively brief time in the workforce” was rated as the top candidate. Her experience was as a military police sergeant in a combat zone in Afghanistan. She got the job.
The complainant was working as a senior detective at the center. His experience included service as a Sargent in the Army military police and ten years as a deputy sheriff and lead detective. He had become certified as a Dallas police officer so he would be knowledgeable about local issues. And he received several commendations by the department.
The hiring panel, which consisted of three Lieutenants, unanimously ranked the female as the top candidate out of a field of 13.
The complainant argued the veterans administration implemented a selection process that was pretext “to permit the selection of a younger minority candidate regardless of the candidate’s qualifications.” Among other things, he said, the administration failed to follow promotion criteria outlined in its regulations and in its Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Union.
Furthermore, he said the Assistant Chief, and not the Chief, was the actual selecting official and made comments about his age. He said other candidates felt the process was unfair and a veteran Sargent and other unnamed witnesses told him “the Agency was deliberately seeking to fill the position with an individual of a specific race or gender.”
In August, EEOC Appeals Judge Carlton M. Hadden, director of the EEOC Office of Federal Operations, dismissed – without a hearing – the male officer’s claim that he was a victim of race and age discrimination.
Hadden conceded the record showed the panelists were not “briefed on” promotion and interview “requirements” but said there was no evidence this omission was “motivated by discrimination.”
Continue reading “Another Nightmare from the EEOC Crypt”