The United States Supreme Court ruled (8-1) rejecting a position that would seek to limit legal recourse available for federal workers. The ruling found that The Age Discrimination in Employment Act has a lower burden of proof for proving discrimination based on age in the federal government versus the private sector.
From Government Executive’s coverage:
In an 8-1 decision in Babb v. Wilkie, the justices found that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act sets two separate burdens for prohibiting age discrimination by an employer. While in the private sector, employees must prove “but for cause,” meaning age discrimination was the deciding factor in an employment decision, federal agencies must ensure their personnel actions are free from any “taint” of differential treatment.
In the case, a Veterans Affairs Department pharmacist alleged that the department subjected her to age and sex discrimination by denying her promotion and training opportunities in 2013. But the government argued that age was not the deciding factor in any of these decisions, and that the same “but for cause” standard should apply to federal agencies.
Initially, a federal district court threw out the case claiming that Babb had failed to prove that age was the only reason for these actions, but in the Supreme Court ruling only Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.