U.S. Supreme Court Concludes “Reasonable Factors Other than Age” Exemption is an Affirmative Defense for which Employers Defending Disparate Impact Claims Under the ADEA Bear the Burden of Proof
On June 19, 2008, in Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an employer defending a disparate-impact claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §621 et seq., bears the burden of persuasion (that is, the burden of persuading the trier of fact of the defense’s merit) when asserting the “reasonable factors other than age” (“RFOA”) affirmative defense under §623(f)(1). Citing prior cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Equal Pay Act, the Court held that Congress intended to place the burden of proving a statutory exemption to ADEA liability, such as the RFOA defense, on the party asserting the defense. View full article (PDF).