Age Discrimination Suit against Spirit and Boeing Thrown Out

A federal judge in Wichita, Kansas has thrown out an age discrimination class action suit against Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems. Judge Eric Melgren ruled on June 30th in a 44-page order that neither Boeing nor Spirit violated the Age Discrimination Employment Act – and that the companies didn’t owe compensation to nearly 800 ex-Boeing workers.

When Spirit divested from Boeing, many workers lost their jobs – 90 former Boeing employees filed suit in late December 2005, claiming that their rights under the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) had been violated by these firings.

Jeff Turner, the current CEO of Spirit, was quoted in the past to have remarked that “Boeing’s workforce was getting older… and the managers need to find ways to do something about it.” This statement on its own suggests that ageism was at work. But Judge Melgren ruled that the CEO’s statement – when taken in its broader context – was actually benign. It was intended as a statement of concern about how the company could survive if a sizable number of employees retired at once and left Spirit with a callow workforce.

Judge Melgren was also not impressed by other claims brought by the prosecution, including that Spirit selectively rehired younger employees and that the company worked to prevent older employees from getting their due pension benefits.

Age discrimination cases like these can obviously get quite complicated – and just because plaintiffs manage to get class action status and to assemble a seemingly compelling bill of particulars against an employer – does not mean that victory is assured.

So what should you do if you or a loved one has been the victim of age discrimination? Consider talking to the experienced professionals at Joseph & Kirschenbaum. Call (212) 688-5640 today for a free and confidential consultation – or visit the firm on the web at www.jhllp.com. Protect your rights by getting good advice today.