• Employee's ADEA Claim Fails for Failure to Show He Was Qualified for Promotion
  • January 16, 2009 | Author: Holly M. Teel
  • Law Firm: Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • A flight data specialist with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), sued his employer for violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (29 U.S.C. § 633a et seq.) The employee, who was over 40 years of age, alleged that the FAA discriminated against him because it denied him a promotion to a full-time, salaried computer specialist position, and instead promoted a younger student intern. The FAA contended that denied the employee’s request for a promotion because the employee lacked skills, did not have one year of specialized experience, and did not establish that he could handle the job responsibilities of a computer specialist. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that in not proving that he was qualified for the position that he sought, the employee failed to establish a prima facie case of age discrimination, one of the requisite elements for a discrimination claim. The court further held that the employee did not satisfy his burden of demonstrating that he possessed the necessary skills, knowledge and qualifications for the computer specialist position. In light of this holding, employers should ensure that all of their job descriptions include clear eligibility requirements to avoid any ambiguities regarding whether a job applicant is qualified for a position.

    Whitman v. Mineta, 541 F.3d 929 (9th Cir., Sept.. 2, 2008)