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The ADEA at 40

The U.S. Supreme Court Confronts Old Age

By Daniel B. Kohrman

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) takes on increasing relevance in tough economic times. While older workers make up an increasing share of the workforce, they are vulnerable in times of economic contraction. The U.S. Supreme Court in its 2007-2008 Term took a surprisingly pragmatic view of the ADEA. In three of its four ADEA decisions, the Court sided with employees on burden of proof, timeliness of a charge of discrimination, evidence, and retaliation issues. In the fourth case, however, the Court approved an age-discriminatory retirement plan because age discrimination was not the motive.

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