A recent Ninth Circuit court decision shows the dangerous path employers walk when they start asking employees questions about retirement, especially when coupled with other age-related comments or actions.
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects applicants and employees who are age 40 and over. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act also provides such protections. To get to trial, an employee who claims age discrimination can use direct or circumstantial evidence that age was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision-making process.
In France v. Johnson, a federal border patrol agent was allowed to proceed to trial against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on a claim that he was denied a promotion due to his age.
The Ninth Circuit decision highlights a couple of key points.