Supreme Court Makes It Easier For Federal Workers To Sue AdministrationJohn Sanders
The latest Supreme Court decision on Monday has made it even easier for federal employees over the age of 40 to sue the administration on charges of age discrimination.
The court ruled 8-1 in favor of the federal employees, thus lowering the hurdle before them compared to their private-sector counterparts. Chief Justice Roberts, who is a 65-year-old from the Baby Boomer generation referred to the infamous ‘Ok, boomer’ phrase as the arguments were being presented in January.
The opinion was issued by the court who did not physically convene due to the coronavirus pandemic. All arguments that were originally scheduled to take place during the spring are now postponed indefinitely.
Workers could file and win age-discrimination lawsuits, stated the court, even if it was found that the selected candidates held better qualifications. This view was stated by Justice Samuel Alito, who is also a 70-year-old boomer. The court was hearing a case where an employee working for the Veterans Affairs Department in her 50s filed an age discrimination lawsuit alleging that she was being denied training opportunities and promotions.
Back in 2009, the court has stated that private sector employment decisions could be made to potentially exclude someone on grounds related to their age. The provisions of this law for federal and private employees are now completely different.
Alito said that if Congress wished to hold all employers to the same standard, it could easily pass a law to this extent.
However, it was also stated that employees could not fight for new promotions or back pay in case discrimination wasn’t the primary factor driving the employment decision. Alito suggested that victims could make use of other options, including getting a special court order that forbade their agency from making use of the same problematic decision-making process down the road.
Justice Clarence Thomas, age 71, dissented with the opinion.
While Supreme Court judges may try putting themselves in the shoes of the people who approach them for justice, it can be slightly hard at times. Employment discrimination may be particularly hard for them to grasp since all justices enjoy lifetime tenure. Justice Ruth Ginsburg, aged 87, and Justice Neil Gorsuch, aged 52, are the oldest and youngest judges on the bench currently.