State Department violated ADEA

D.C. Circuit says department broke discrimination law when it forced 65-year-old employee to retire

The D.C. Circuit found yesterday that the U.S. State Department illegally discriminated against one of its employees abroad.

John R. Miller Jr. worked at the U.S. embassy in Paris until the State Department forced him to retire in July 2007 because he had turned 65 years old. He sued the department, claiming his forced retirement violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Meanwhile, the State Department admitted it had forced Miller to retire because of his age because retirement is mandated at age 65 in France. The department also claimed it was exempt from ADEA because of another statute—the Basic Authorities Act, which promotes the hiring of U.S. citizens abroad.

But yesterday the D.C. Circuit reversed a lower court ruling and found that no such exemption exists.

“Even if the State Department were correct in reading this ambiguous passage as relating to State Department hiring, it is unclear how allowing the United States to discriminate against its own citizens on the basis of their age — or disability, race, religion, or sex — would promote the hiring of U.S. workers abroad,” Judge Merrick Garland wrote for the majority.

Read the Wall Street Journal Law Blog for more about the State Department’s ADEA violation.

For more recent InsideCounsel stories about age discrimination and ADEA, read:

Discrimination case against Fried Frank thrown out

Labor: EEOC issues final rule on reasonable factors other than age under the ADEA

Labor: 5 factors to consider when mounting an ADEA defense

Kelley Drye settles age discrimination claims

Labor: Managing a down economy—The Older Worker Benefit Protection Act

EEOC rule defines "reasonable" in ADEA cases

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