Reynolds Tobacco ‘Walks” in Case of Internet Screening to Exclude Older Job Applicants

smokeA federal appeals court panel in Atlanta this week dismissed the tattered remains of an important lawsuit alleging age discrimination in hiring against R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co..

In other words, R.J. Reynolds will face no legal consequences for conducting a several year campaign of internet screening to weed out the applications of older workers and target workers who were “2-3 years out of college” who “easily adjusts to change.”

Meanwhile,  the U.S. Supreme Court  has refused to hear an appeal of a landmark decision by the full 11th Circuit of Appeals last October holding that job applicants are not covered under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The appeals court said Richard Villarreal could not sue Reynolds under a “disparate” impact because Villarreal “has no status as an employee.”  The disparate impact theory is used to attack a supposedly neutral policy or practice that has a disproportionate, negative impact on a protected group.

Federal courts have concluded that Villarreal – who appears to be a victim of gross and provable age discrimination in hiring – has no remedy under federal law.

The 11th Circuit, which includes Alabama, Georgia and Florida, is the first in the nation to rule that the ADEA covers only employees. The ADEA has been used to protect job applicants for decades.

After the dismissal of Villarreal’s systemic discrimination claim, his only remaining claim involved intentional discrimination. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit on Tuesday upheld the dismissal of this claim because it was not filed within 180 days of the alleged violation.

The 11th Circuit panel said Villarreal’s disparate treatment argument was not eligible to be considered under a so-called continuing violation theory. The panel said this doctrine applies to minor incidents that alone would not be actionable but which become actionable due to their “cumulative” effect … That is not so for Villarreal. He is not challenging the cumulative effect of R.J. Reynolds multiple refusals to hire older applicants; instead he is challenging each individual refusal-to-hire.”

From 2007 to 2010, Reynolds dumped more than 20,000 applications from older workers into a digital trash can. Reynolds hired 1,024 regional territory managers during this period of whom only 1.85 percent (19) were over the age of 40.

Continue reading “Reynolds Tobacco ‘Walks” in Case of Internet Screening to Exclude Older Job Applicants”

EEOC Files 2nd Hiring Discriminaton Lawsuit

After ignoring the problem for years, the EEOC has filed its second lawsuit in recent months alleging age discrimination in hiring

The EEOC announced last week that it had filed a suit alleging the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records OOR) engaged in age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 when it failed to  hire attorney Joseph Bednarik for a vacant appeals officer position in 2008.

The lawEEOCsuit follows on the heels of an earlier case filed by the EEOC against the City of Milpitas in California’s Silicon Valley, which allegedly discriminated on the basis of age when a panel of three city officials chose a candidate for the position of executive secretary to the city manager. The successful applicant, 39, was rated as less qualified than the individuals who were not selected, who were aged 42, 55, 56 and 58 years of age.

Both lawsuits were filed after the EEOC was unable to reach a pre-litigation settlement with the employers through its conciliation process.

In the latest case, the EEOC states in its complaint that Bednarik heard of the position through “word-of-mouth” and sent a letter of interest to an OOR hiring official. Bednarik, who graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School,  had been practicing for about 30 years, including 17 years with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. During an interview with Terry Mutchler, the executive director of the OOR, and Barry Fox, OOR’s Deputy Director, Mutchler allegedly “expressed some concern that Bednarik would not have a long tenure with OOR because he had already worked for the Commonwealth for 17 years and might be nearing retirement.”The OOR selected a 40-year-old candidate who had significantly less experience than Bednarik for the position. Continue reading “EEOC Files 2nd Hiring Discriminaton Lawsuit”