Saturday, March 22, 2008

Supreme Court Sides and FedEx Age Discrimination Suit |

What could be an important decision on the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) from the United States Supreme Court. The following report is from

Supreme Court Sides With Employees in FedEx Age Discrimination Suit |:

"In a 7-2 opinion handed down on Wednesday, February 27, the court acknowledged that the suit did not follow the procedures laid out in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which says a civil procedure can’t begin until 60 days after a charge has been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission."

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court majority was reluctant to punish employees for an EEOC mistake.

“[U]ndoubted deficiencies in the agency’s administration of the statute and its regulatory scheme are not enough … to deprive the agency of all judicial deference,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority. “Some degree of inconsistent treatment is unavoidable when the agency processes over 175,000 inquires a year.”

The majority also endorsed the EEOC’s stance that a charge occurs whenever a complainant asks the agency to act against an employer.


Kennedy urged the EEOC to revise its forms and procedures to provide more clarity. In the oral argument, the agency said that improvements already have been made.

“The ball is really in the EEOC’s court to do a better job of processing charges,” said Will Deveney, a partner at Elarbee Thompson in Atlanta. “I don’t see the court getting back into this particular issue again for some time.