Supreme Court Preview: Disparate Impact Claims under the ADEA

October 1, 2004

Michael A. Carvin, Louis Fisher

Later this year the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Smith v. City of Jackson, which presents the question whether so-called “disparate impact” claims are available under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Under “disparate impact” theory, an action is unlawful if it has disproportionate adverse effects on members of a protected class and lacks sufficient justification, even if the action is not taken with a purpose to discriminate on the basis of the protected characteristic. The Court’s decision, which should hold that ADEA disparate impact claims are not cognizable, will be extremely important to public and private employers....

Supreme Court Preview: Disparate Impact Claims under the ADEA