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Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Lab.

Docket No.: 06-1505
Certiorari Granted: 1/18/2008
Decided: January 18, 2008

PartyNames: Clifford B. Meacham, et al. v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, aka KAPL, Inc., et al.
Petitioner: Clifford B. Meacham
Respondent: Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Clifford B. Meacham
v.
Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
554 U.S. ____ (2008)
Background:

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employment practices that have an unjustified disparate impact on older workers, Smith v. City of Jackson, Miss., 544 U.S. 22(2005), but also provides that it "shall not be unlawful for an employer . . . to take any action otherwise prohibited . . . where the differentiation is based on reasonable factors other than age." 29 U.S.C. ยง 623(f)(1).

Consideration Limited:

LIMITED TO QUESTION 1 PRESENTED BY THE PETITION EXPEDITED BRIEFING SCHEDULE JUSTICE BREYER TOOK NO PART

Question Presented:

1. Whether an employee alleging disparate impact under the ADEA bears the burden of persuasion on the "reasonable factors other than age" defense, as held by the Second Circuit in this case in conflict with the decisions of other circuits and a regulation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 2. Whether respondents' practice of conferring broad discretionary authority upon individual managers to decide which employees to lay off during a reduction in force constituted a "reasonable factor other than age" as a matter of law.

Question:

Under the Supreme Court's decision in Smith v. City of Jackson, must the employer or the employee prove the reasonableness of adverse employment decisions occurring as part of a claim for age discrimination under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act?

Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Lab.
ORAL ARGUMENT

April 23, 2008

Holding: judgment vacated and remanded
Vote: 7-1
Recused: Breyer
Opinion By:
Read MEACHAM V. KNOLLS ATOMIC POWER LAB. opinion (PDF)

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