The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has
recently revived a man’s claim of
age discriminationagainst the Department of Defense. In Bartlett v. Gates, a 58-year-old
man – Barry Bartlett – was denied promotion to a higher level
within the Defense Contracts Management Agency (DCMA) despite his 34 years
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination
against individuals over the age of 40. If you are older than 40, your
employer may not make adverse employment decisions against you on the
basis of your age and may not harass you because of your age.
Here, the official in charge of promotions selected a 39-year-old woman.
While Mr. Bartlett had completed graduate work in business administration,
accounting, and law, the woman had no college degree. Bartlett had also
worked at the current branch for 24 years, whereas the woman had only
worked 8 years at a different location.
Additionally, the supervisor had made comments suggesting Bartlett retire,
and said she “was wondering if you were going antiquing or traveling
or something like that because that’s what you supposedly do.”
The 6th Circuit determined that summary judgment against Bartlett was improper
because he was able to show direct evidence of discrimination in the form
of ageist remarks. The court noted that, “discriminatory remarks
by decision-maker and other persons exerting a meaningful role in the
decision-making process constitute direct evidence of discrimination.”
Further, Bartlett was able to show that the DCMA’s stated reason
for its decision was pretext. The DCMA claimed the woman hired was “the
best candidate, a strong communicator and very experienced.” Bartlett
sufficiently rebutted these claims by establishing that his communications
skills were on par with, if not better than, the woman hired. He was also
able by show that he had substantially more experience and familiarity
in the area of contract negotiations, which was a critical function of
the position. As such, the lower court’s granting of summary judgment
was overturned and he was able to proceed with his claim.
If you or someone you know has been victimized by age discrimination, don’t
wait. The ADEA has a very short time to file claims. Please
contact the lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC to find out how we can help.