When two firefighters brought an age discrimination suit against their tiny fire district, the fire district defended itself by saying that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) didn't apply. According to its reading of the law, only employers with at least 20 employees were covered, and it didn't meet that threshold. The firefighters argued that the 20-employee threshold only applies to private-sector employers. This jurisdictional question was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
When an employee of the federal government loses a case involving questions of discrimination and procedural issues with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), courts had ruled that the employee must appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Employers can take advantage of vulnerable employees in a number of ways. In a perfect world, all employers would respect the people who devote time and effort in service of their enterprise. However, employees are regularly subjected to various forms of employment discrimination; especially those employees who belong to protected classes or are otherwise more vulnerable than their fellow workers.
It can often be difficult to determine when discrimination is occurring in the workplace. Some discrimination is blatant and easy to label, refusing to promote someone explicitly because of her race, gender, etc. However, many forms of discrimination are more subtle and harder to challenge by employees alone.
Based on a recent ruling by the Texas Supreme Court, an employee who believes they were fired based on age cannot sue if the worker that replaced them was older. The issue before the Supreme Court involved a 48-year-old secretary who was fired from a South Texas school and replaced by a 51-year-old. The former secretary alleged she was dismissed because of her age and filed an age discrimination suit against the school district.