Agreeing with the district court’s assessment that “résumé misrepresentations by a senior human resources professional represent an infraction so egregious as to defy correction by mere counseling or other lesser discipline,” the 6th Circuit on April 23, 2018, rejected an appeal from a summary judgment order on claims of pregnancy, race, and age discrimination and retaliation in Bailey v. Oakwood Healthcare, Inc..

Michelle Bailey, a 40 year old African-American woman, was fired from her position as a senior staffing professional at Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. (Oakwood) on the day she returned from a three-month maternity leave. During her maternity leave, her supervisor had identified deficiencies in her work performance that prompted the supervisor to go back and review her qualifications. When she checked, she found what Ms. Bailey acknowledged in deposition were “embellishments” on her employment application. In notifying Ms. Bailey of her termination, Oakwood relied on both the deficiencies and the misrepresentations. Ms. Bailey later sued, claiming that she was fired because of her pregnancy, her race and her age as well as in retaliation for concerns she had expressed about the rejection of employment applications of certain African-American candidates for employment at Oakwood prior to her maternity leave. The district court granted summary judgment in Oakwood’s favor on each of these counts.
Continue Reading Sixth Circuit upholds termination of human resources employee for employment application misrepresentations and performance deficiencies

On April 1, 2009, in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court clarified an issue of confusion among lower courts when it held that “a collective-bargaining agreement that clearly and unmistakably requires a union member to arbitrate ADEA claims is enforceable as a matter of federal law.”
Continue Reading United States Supreme Court Holds That Collective Bargaining Agreements May Require Union Members to Arbitrate Discrimination Claims

In Kentucky Retirement Systems v. EEOC, No. 06-1037, 2008 WL 2445078 (U.S. June 19, 2008), the Supreme Court recently held that “where an employer adopts a pension plan that includes age as a factor” (in determining eligibility for retirement with pension benefits), and the employer subsequently “treats employees differently based on pension status,” the plan does not automatically violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Rather, the Court held that the plaintiff challenging such a policy must show that the differential treatment was “actually motivated” by age. In a 5-4 decision — with a rather strange alignment of the justices — the majority, which consisted of Justices Breyer (who authored the opinion), Stevens, Souter, and Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts, reversed the Sixth Circuit’s en banc ruling striking down the pension plan as facially discriminatory.

[This post serves as a follow up to my earlier posts on March 26, 2008 and January 2, 2008 regarding the decision in Erie County Retirees Association v. County of Erie by the Third Circuit upholding the EEOC’s rule allowing employers to coordinate retiree healthcare benefits with Medicare benefits, effectively resulting in equal total benefits between younger retirees and older Medicare-eligible retirees but unequal amounts spent on the two groups’ benefits because a portion of the Medicare-eligible retirees’ payments come from Medicare.]


Continue Reading Supreme Court OKs Employer Use of Age as a Factor In Pension Plans

On December 26, the EEOC announced a new rule that makes it easier for employers to help retirees maintain adequate healthcare benefits. In particular, employers that provide retiree healthcare benefits may coordinate those benefits with Medicare benefits without engaging in age discrimination based on the difference in ages between younger non-Medicare-eligible retirees and older Medicare-eligible retirees. This effectively provides an exemption to the ADEA and is a solution to the problem created by the Third Circuit’s decision in Erie.
Continue Reading New EEOC Rule Makes an Exemption to Erie Decision and Allows Coordination of Healthcare Benefits for Retirees with Medicare