The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a final rule on disparate impact under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): where seemingly neutral practices affect older workers disproportionately: and the "reasonable factors other than age" (RFOA) defense.
The final rule clarifies that the ADEA prohibits policies and practices that negatively impact older workers compared to younger workers, unless the employer can show that the policy or practice is based on an RFOA. The rule explains the meaning of the RFOA defense to employees, employers and courts, and makes EEOC regulations consistent with Supreme Court case law. The agency also issued a set of questions and answers providing additional detail.
The Commission held public meetings on age discrimination and older worker unemployment in 2009 and 2010 because of concerns that older workers frequently were unfairly laid off during downsizing, had particular problems regaining employment after losing their jobs, and were barred from employment by some common employment practices that were unrelated to job performance.
The number of age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC have increased by 50% since 2000.