A seemingly straightforward question has serious implications in many employment
contexts – and can determine your right to recover damages if you
have suffered illegal discrimination. That question – “who
is your employer?” – was just evaluated in a significant Age
Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) matter.
Holloway v. Water Works & Sewer Bd. Of Vernon, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama reviewed
the claim of a 66-year-old former general manager of a municipal board
– the Water Works and Sewer Board of the Town of Vernon. The man
asserted that a few weeks after his 66th birthday when he stated that
he plan to continue working for a few more years, he was fired and replaced
by someone substantially younger.
He then filed a claim for age discrimination pursuant to the ADEA. Like
the other anti-discrimination laws, the ADEA prohibits any type of adverse
action against you because of your age, including the failure to hire
you or a discharge because of your age. This also includes age harassment,
which typically involves hostility or abuse directed at you by other employees
because of your age. The ADEA also prohibits retaliation against you for
complaining about age discrimination or for participating in someone else’s
age discrimination case.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your
age, speaking to an experiencedAtlanta age discrimination attorney is important to begin and investigation and determine your next steps.
One significant difference between the ADEA and other discrimination laws
is that generally the ADEA only considers an entity to be an “employer”
if it employs more than 20 people, whereas in sex and race discrimination
laws generally apply to those entities that employ at least 15. In
Holloway, the board tried to use this argument as a defense to its firing of the
general manager. However, the court rejected this argument explaining
that the ADEA provides separate considerations for “political subdivisions
of a State and any agency or instrumentality of a State or a political
subdivision of a State” that is separate from the 20-employee threshold,”
and that this applies to public agencies such as the water board. While
this ruling contradicts what other circuits have found, it provides a
significant ruling in favor of finding that public agencies that employ
fewer than 20 employees may still be considered “employers”
for purposes of the ADEA.
For more information or if you believe that you may have suffered illegal
age discrimination, please do not hesitate to contact the knowledgeable
Georgia age discrimination lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLP for an immediate, confidential consultation.