Nov 26, 2020 in Coursework

Hazen Paper Co. v. Biggins

1. Do you agree with the court that age and years of service are sufficiently distinct to allow for terminations based on years of service and to find no violation of the ADEA where the termination result in a greater portion of older workers being fired?

It is forbidden by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to discriminate against age in employment. Those individuals who are above the age of forty are protected against discrimination that is on the basis of age (Bennett-Alexander, 2001). This act was passed by the Congress in the effort of promoting the employment of older individuals based on the abilities they have and not their age. In the case of Hazen Paper Company versus Biggins, the Supreme Court of America settled on the decision claiming that it is not a violation of the Act if an individual makes decisions based on factors that are not related to age.

An employee was terminated by his employer with the aim of inhibiting him from vesting in his pension. For the employer, the plan was on the basis of the number of years that the employee had served and not age. The court went forward to decline the argument by the plaintiff as it insisted that age and the time in service are both analytically distinct (Bennett-Alexander, 2001). The final argument by the court was that those decisions that are based on the service are not always based on age. It, therefore, was concluded that no disparate treatment was in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act as long as the factor in the picture is not age-based.

Many individuals do not agree with this decision. The courts claim of age and service being separate entities is no practical for a number of individuals. Basing the fact the employer had a plan that was set to terminate employment on the grounds on years of service. The counter for this reasoning is that the circumstances for the case were pre-textual. The court worked to differentiate between the employees age and their time in service. According to critiques, the grounds were age-based, and no work agreement was violated.

The two factors are entirely separate and distinct thus do not relate when it comes to work ethics. After the decision had attracted huge controversy, other actors came into the case. For instance, the court was supported by the system in Kentucky Retirement. It claimed that the employer was only acting in accordance with service in years and not the age.

2. Arent workers close to vesting more likely to be older workers? And, if so, then do you believe that an employer can use the category close to vesting to avoid liability under the ADEA?

The Hazen Paper plan on Pension says that the pension benefits that are intended for an employee vest after the completion of ten years in service for the firm. This is what the court gave as its basis for no disparate treatment. It seems true to claims that, in the Hazen Paper, older people were close to vesting than young employees (Frolik, 1999). It is not acting in discrimination when the employer fires the old employees considering the fact that they have more than ten years in the company. These individuals are usually close to vesting resulting from their time in service.

The Act does not have a window for the allowance of all circumstance relating to employment policies (Bennett-Alexander, 2001). The Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not cover other intentions of termination of employment. When an employee works for almost ten years in the firm, he/she is close to vesting; in this case then, he/she is subject to termination. The Act does not offer a loophole for protection against termination of service in employment but only age discrimination. Employees cannot seek action from the Act for other reasons far from age.

The liability in this Act is that employees cannot secure themselves from other motivations and from their employers for termination. The Act does not strictly show the boundaries for intentions on age or service. The only substantial claim is the agreement in employment policies.

3. If an employer did terminate a group of individuals on the basis of their being close to vesting with intention of getting rid of older workers, what type of evidence would the employees/plaintiffs be able to use to prove the unlawful intent?

It is not realistic to conclude that those employers who focus on pension status do so only for the old people hence age discrimination. The fact that time in service and age do not relate according to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not rule out the possibility of unlawful intent. Suppose the employer acts in the interests of dismissing employees on age but blames it on service, the case is assessed to determine the true intentions.

Pension status is considered a proxy for age in spite of the decisions that are influenced by the Age Discrimination Act (United States, 1993). The possibility of having a termination in employment that was prompted by age and not entirely service makes a great sense. This is what is considered as the liability behind the Act. The employee could have been terminated due to his/her pension status and age. In this case, the employer terminates the worker with the intentions of inhibiting vesting.

When the employer seeks to inhibit the employees vesting, it is usually circumstantial for the court to find the motivating factors. Simple actions like the nature of the replacement are crucial in assessment. For instance, in the case of Hazen Paper Company, the replacement was a young individual (Bennett-Alexander, 2001). The allegation was that the new employee was given a new agreement that did have similar characteristics like before. The court could easily use this type evidence to prove unlawful intent. The employee who was terminated would accuse the company of acting in other interests and not time in service. The use of vital indirect evidence is crucial in cases that show controversy in the decisions given.

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