08/27/2013 // Dallas, Texas, United States // Attorney Keith Clouse // Keith Clouse // (press release)
The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently reversed a summary judgment for an employer in an age and disability discrimination matter. EEOC v. DynMcDermott Pet. Op. Co., No. 12-40424 (5th Cir. July 26, 2013), available at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions%5Cunpub%5C12/12-40424.0.wpd.pdf.
The employer considered hiring a former employee who had previously held a similar job and who had received favorable performance reviews. But, a director, who had direct supervisory authority over the hiring manager, repeatedly stated both verbally and in writing that the applicant should not be hired because he was old (56 years old) and because his wife had cancer (and caring for her might require the applicant to miss work). When the hiring manager argued the hiring decision could not be made on the grounds suggested by the director, the director threatened the hiring manager with disciplinary action for insubordination. Ultimately, the hiring manager hired a 35-year-old applicant with no prior experience with the company’s unique program.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that the employer violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The district court disagreed and granted summary judgment for the employer. The Court reversed that decision. It concluded that evidence supported the EEOC’s position and that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the EEOC after considering that evidence.
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