• Eleventh Circuit Clarifies Notice Requirements Under Older Workers Benefit Protection Act
  • August 1, 2006 | Author: Julia Eden Judish
  • Law Firms: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP - San Diego Office ; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP - Washington Office
  • Many employers who implement reductions in force have struggled with the requirements of the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act ("OWBPA"). In order to obtain a valid release of federal age discrimination claims, OWBPA requires the employer to provide the employees with data concerning the ages of persons eligible for an exit incentive program, and the job titles and ages of those in the same "job classification" or "organizational unit" who were not selected or not eligible for the program. The Eleventh Circuit on July 11, 2006 addressed what it described as the "ambiguous" notice provision of OWBPA. The court upheld releases signed by a group of former McDonald's Corporation employees, thereby barring their effort to retain severance benefits and also sue McDonald's for age discrimination. In rejecting a claim that nationwide data should have been provided by McDonald's, the court found it was sufficient to provide the affected employees with data limited to the three regions affected by the reduction.