March 11, 2014

Employer Victory in U.S. Supreme Court Age Discrimination Ruling

Employment Law Update

The U.S. Supreme Court held in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. that plaintiffs must prove that age is a “but for” cause of an adverse employment decision under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). As a result, an employer faced with an ADEA claim is not required to show that it would have taken the same adverse action regardless of age, even if evidence indicates that age may have been a contributing factor. The Court’s 5-4 decision, written by Justice Thomas, may also signal significant developments in employment law beyond the ADEA.