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Supreme Court will decide if state workers can sue for age discrimination under the 14th Amendment

The 7th Circuit is the only appellate court that has thus far allowed that method

State employees should keep their eyes on the Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear a case on whether they are able to sue under the 14th Amendment when alleging age discrimination.

Harvey Levin was fired from his job as a lawyer in the Illinois attorney general’s office in 2006, when he was in his 60s, and sued the office for sex and age discrimination. Levin lucked out in August 2012 when the 7th Circuit became the only circuit to decide, affirming a trial court decision, that state employees can sue under Section 1983 of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Other appellate courts that have considered this issue found that state employees have to bring age discrimination cases under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). What’s more, in 2009 the Supreme Court raised the bar for discrimination under ADEA in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, making it more difficult for workers to pursue cases under the statute.

Though the 7th Circuit dismissed Levin’s ADEA claims, it found that ADEA did not preclude Levin’s Section 1983 claims. Section 1983 gives plaintiffs remedies not included in ADEA, such as the ability to seek compensatory damages.

On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear Levin’s case next term, though a date has not yet been set.

Read more at Thomson Reuters.


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