United States Supreme Court Recognizes Disparate Impact Claims Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
On March 30, 2005, in Smith v. City of Jackson, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, expanded liability under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) to include disparate impact claims. Disparate impact discrimination occurs when a neutral employment practice has an adverse effect on a protected class of persons (e.g., workers age 40 and older). The Supreme Court previously recognized such claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 over 30 years ago. Since that time, federal appellate courts remained split as to whether a disparate impact theory of liability could also be used by employees in ADEA age discrimination lawsuits, with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals authorizing disparate impact claims. View full article (PDF).