In a recent ruling that underscores the importance of the “reasonable factors other than age” defense to a claim of disparate impact discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit concluded that an employer’s cost-saving changes to an unemployment benefits plan were not unlawful under the ADEA.

In upholding a decision by a federal trial court, the appeals court ultimately concluded in O’Brien v. Caterpillar Inc., No. 17-2956 (August 20, 2018), that although the company’s liquidation of an unemployment benefits plan did in fact have a disparate impact against ADEA-protected older workers, it fell within the law’s “reasonable factors other than age” defense.

A copy of the Seventh Circuit’s decision in O’Brien v. Caterpillar Inc. is available online.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.