Legalized Age Discrimination In Federal Courts
Age discrimination victims have no right to a federal jury trial, which is available in cases involving discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color and national origin.
A federal judge recently said postal service worker Ella D. Vick is entitled to a jury trial next month on claims of sex discrimination and retaliation lodged against the U.S. Postmaster General under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
But Vicks is not entitled to a jury trial on her claims of age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and interference with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). They will be decided by the judge.
U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan said the parties agreed that courts have decided the ADEA does not provide the right to a federal jury trial. Judge Chutkan ruled the FMLA also does not provide a right to a jury trial, because it lacks an express provision granting a right to a jury trial.
So Vicks’ trial will be schizophrenic. Half will be decided by a jury of her peers. The other half will be decided by a federal judge who is effectively immune from age discrimination because she has lifetime tenure.
Legalized Age Discrimination
Older workers seeking a remedy for employment discrimination face legalized age discrimination in the federal court system, seemingly in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.
The Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause requires the U.S. government to practice equal protection.
The Seventh Amendment, which extends the right to a federal jury trial to civil cases involving employment discrimination, says nothing about exempting older workers.
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