• Supreme Court Holds That Federal Employees Are Protected Against Age-Based Retaliation
  • June 21, 2008 | Author: Tom H. Luetkemeyer
  • Law Firm: Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP - Chicago Office
  • A 45-year-old postal worker was denied a requested transfer. After filing an unsuccessful union grievance, she filed a complaint of age discrimination under the provisions of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) applicable to federal employees. Following the filing of her complaint, the employee was allegedly subjected to baseless complaints regarding her performance, false accusations of sexual harassment, and drastically reduced working hours. The employee then filed a new complaint for retaliation under ADEA. The government argued that the provisions of the ADEA applicable to federal employees did not encompass retaliation as a cause of action. The United States Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the term “discrimination” within the statute encompasses claims of retaliation. The high court reasoned that where an employee complains of discrimination based on age, any retaliation in response to such a complaint is also discrimination based on age, even if the specific language of the statute does not address retaliation. While the specific holding is not widely applicable, the ruling is important for the Supreme Court’s broad view of retaliation claims. Employers would be wise to presume that any statutory prohibition of discrimination similarly prohibits retaliation.

    Gomez-Perez v. Potter, No. 06-1321 (May 27, 2008)