Wednesday, December 23, 2009

State Dept. Argues for Continuation of Mandatory Retirement Age for Foreign Service

Age discrim1 This is disappointing. As reported by the Blog of the Legal Times:

The State Department filed its motion to dismiss a case challenging the U.S. Foreign Service's mandatory retirement policy, arguing the age cutoff was a valid piece of Congressional decision making.

Elizabeth Colton, a 64-year-old Foreign Services officer, sued the State Department in September alleging she had been denied an overseas assignment because of her age. Her suit, filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claimed the Foreign Service's requirement that officers retire at 65 violated the Constitution's equal protection clause. Colton also alleged the government violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act by denying her career opportunities before she turned 65.

The government shot back yesterday, arguing that Colton was trying to upend long-settled law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has already found that the retirement policy at issue, which is contained in the Foreign Services Act, was was exempt from the ADEA, the government said. It added that the Supreme Court has also ruled that the age cutoff does not violate equal protection.

"Congress viewed the mandatory retirement provision as critical to maintaining the highest level of performance by 'the corps of public servants who hold positions critical to our foreign relations,'" the government's filing states.

Of course, you could make the generalization about older people losing ability in any job after 65,  I know many robust and energetic 70-somethings and many 50-somethings who are no longer capable of the "highest levels of performance."  Isn't the ADEA suppose to cut against these types of stereotypes, Congress?


Employment Discrimination, Public Employment Law | Permalink

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Denying a foreign service worker a position, and losing her wealth of knowledge and expertise, based solely upon her being 64 is indicative of dull minds, and poorly educated ones at that. As an orignial baby boomer born in October 1946, a college athlete, Marine platoon commander in Vietnam, I've also lifted weights for at least 45 years. I'm a non-smoker, have never been obese, and am in much better shape - mentally and physically - than several in my office who are in their 40s and early 50s.

I am active in my church, enjoy the company of an intelligent, educated, and beautiful wife of 43 years as well as being blessed with two wonderful sons (a Marine Lt. Col., and an engineer - both with masters degrees and, more importantly, enormous personal integrity), and four sweet grandchildren who I adore. I have successfully litigated a nationwide classaction and many hundreds of other cases, and plan to practice law with a state agency legal division at least until I'm 70 (the state mandatory retirement age), and then write professionally full between weight lifting sessions.

Semper Fidelis!

Posted by: john | Jan 5, 2010 1:25:03 PM

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