The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) requires that businesses make no distinction among employee’s pay based on their ages. They cannot be paid less due to their age as long as they are performing their jobs effectively; they must be paid the same as younger counterparts. Ty Hyderally is an expert in employment law who works diligently to inform employees and employers of their rights and responsibilities concerning employment law NJ, including ADEA guidelines. Individuals can file against corporations, as can groups. However, just because the complaint arises from an affected group, is no guarantee that the courts will act on their behalf; or agree that a disparity has taken place. This is the case with Smith v. City of Jackson, Miss.
A group of police department employees which included Azel Smith sued the city of Jackson, Mississippi and their police department. The city’s police department in an attempt to make their pay scale competitive with surrounding departments gave officers raises. Officers who worked for the department for less than 5 years were given larger pay raises than employees who had over 5 years of tenure. Since many of those with more than 5 years of tenure were over the age of 40, the group sued the city alleging that the salary changes was in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
The Fifth Circuit dismissed the claim because they said it was not a violation of ADEA. Upon appeal the Supreme Court upheld this dismissal. One reason for this dismissal was the particular wording of the language used in the ADEA. Another cause for the dismissal of their claim was the history of legislative rulings and statutes. The court recognized that these types of disparate impact claims can indeed be classified under the ADEA, however, the group (Smith) failed to be able to prove their claim.
The group of officers could not isolate a specific practice carried out by the department that would prove the disparities according to statistical analysis. The officers stated that the pay plan that was put in place was not as generous to older officers and therefore had an impact on the age group. The group failed to prove that the raises were made on solely on the basis of age. The city was trying to ensure that the police department offered salaries that were competitive with other communities in the area. Since the pay scale was not based at all on an employee’s age there was no act of discrimination to be found.
To prove a case of age discrimination it is very important to be able to statistically show that the disparities occurred solely based on age. The group of officers could not do this in this case and the dismissal was upheld.