Court rules for older federal workers in discrimination case
From the Associated Press
May 27, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court said Tuesday that a major anti-age bias law protects federal employees who faced retaliation after complaining about discrimination.
The court ruled 6-3 that a U.S. Postal Service employee may pursue her lawsuit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
The law does specifically bar reprisals against private sector employees who complain about discrimination. But it is silent as to federal workers. Justice Samuel Alito said the law indeed does apply to both categories of employees.
The case involves Myrna Gomez-Perez, a postal worker in Puerto Rico who alleged she was being discriminated against because of her age. Gomez-Perez, who was then 45, said that after she filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, she suffered a "series of reprisals" from her supervisors.
Gomez-Perez sued under the ADEA, claiming retaliation in violation of the law.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld a lower court's dismissal. The Supreme Court reversed that ruling Tuesday.
The Bush administration, which is backing workers in other age bias cases at the high court, said the ADEA does not afford federal workers protection from retaliation.
It said Congress could have extended protections to federal workers, but didn't.
The case is Gomez-Perez v. Potter, 06-1321.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.