Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds that a Hostile Work Environment Claim Based on Age Discrimination Can Proceed
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently determined that a plaintiff’s age-based hostile work environment claim could be advanced. Dediol v. Best Chevrolet, Inc. No. 10-30767 (5th Cir. Sept. 12, 2011), available at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/10/10-30767-CV0.wpd.pdf.
Over a two-month period, the plaintiff’s supervisor made daily age-based and religion-based comments to the plaintiff. The plaintiff quit work and filed suit, alleging a hostile work environment claim based on age, religion harassment, and constructive discharge. The trial court granted summary judgment for the employer. The plaintiff appealed.
The Court noted that it had never before held that Title VII could be extended to address a claim for hostile work environment based on age. The Court then determined that a plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim based on age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act can proceed if the plaintiff establishes: (1) he was over the age of 40; (2) he was subjected to harassment, either through words or actions, based on age; (3) the nature of the harassment was such that it created an objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; and (4) there exists some basis for liability on the part of the employer. Here, the Court found that genuine issues of material fact existed. It ruled that summary judgment was granted in error and reversed the trial court’s judgment.
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KEITH A. CLOUSE
Clouse Dunn LLP
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