Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
A 53-year-old employee failed to convince the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that his age bias claim should have been sent to a jury. Slattery v Swiss Reinsurance Am. Corp., 248 F.3d 87 (2d Cir. 2001). In February 1997, the employee’s supervisors began to be dissatisfied with his work. In July 1998, he was reassigned and given diminished responsibilities. The employee filed an age bias complaint, which his employers learned of in January 1999. On July 1, 1999, the employee was placed on probation, and he was fired on February 1, 2000. The employee sued for age bias under Title VII and the New York State Human Rights Law. A federal district court granted the employer summary judgment, and the employee appealed. The 2nd Circuit affirmed the ruling of the district court, but on different grounds. The district court had erroneously heightened the requirement for a prima facie case of age bias, said the 2nd Circuit, by requiring the employee to demonstrate that he was “performing his duties satisfactorily” rather than merely “qualified for the position.” The district court had found that because the employer was dissatisfied with the employee’s performance, the employee had not established the second element of a prima facie claim. This was error, the 2nd Circuit held, because there was “no basis for the district court’s conclusion that [the employee] lacked even minimal qualification for a job whose duties he had been performing for seven years.” The 2nd Circuit also took issue with the district court’s rejection of evidence that the company chairman had publicly announced that he intended to make the company’s image younger and that he had reduced the average employee age to 39. Because the chairman had not been personally involved in decisions affecting the employee, and the employee had not shown that his supervisors even knew about the chairman’s statement, the district court excluded the statements from consideration. The 2nd Circuit stated that “when a major company executive speaks, ‘everybody listens’ in the corporate hierarchy,” and that “statements about changing the corporate culture made by top executives surely have probative value as to possibly discriminatory acts on the part of the lower level supervisors.” However, the 2nd Circuit said that even assuming that the chairman’s statements established a prima facie case, the employee’s late reports, failure to lead, and inability to bring in new business in the face of an express requirement that he do so were legitimate business reasons for his probation and termination. Accordingly, the 2nd Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court. � 2001, CCH INCORPORATED. All Rights Reserved.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.