A recent decision by an appeals court in one state could have far-reaching implications for employers throughout the nation. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with an Ohio district court’s ruling in a case of age discrimination brought by a former employee of MW Bancorp Inc.
In their ruling, the appeals court stated that the plaintiff was not able to prove that “age was the sole cause for her firing.” Plaintiff appealed this ruling to the full 6th Circuit Court in an attempt to overturn the panel’s ruling. Two amicus briefs on behalf of the plaintiff were filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Foundation, the AARP and the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA).
The premise of amicus briefs
Both amicus briefs contend that “sole cause” standards should not be applicable in the plaintiff’s case due to prior legal precedents set by none other than the U.S. Supreme Court. The two amicus briefs’ premise is that a “sole cause” standard would make it much more challenging for older workers to win age bias cases in the courts.
Employers’ reality may be quite different
As employers all across the nation can attest, it is a rare case indeed where a worker is terminated simply because of their age. Most employers have a great deal invested in long-term employees and will have exhausted numerous attempts to retain them in the workplace by the time termination occurs.
Terminated employees who decide to initiate legal action against former employers may ignore less drastic attempts to get them to comply with new operating procedures and/or rules. Documenting each employee’s transgression and failure to comply can provide the evidence your employment law attorney needs to prevail in court.