Former Boeing Official says Company was Concerned About Aging Work Force
In the midst of a fledgling airline industry, an age-discrimination suit filed against airline manufacturing giant Boeing, has tarnished the image of what was once considered the “friendly” skies.
Former Boeing workers have sued the Chicago-based company and Spirit Aerosystem claiming that they lost their jobs because of their age. The lawsuit was filed by 90 former employees.
Boeing has denied that any of its employment decisions were made based on age, although Boeing has acknowledged that it evaluated the correlation between wages and age brackets.
According to the depositions of former high-level managers, the company officials indicated that Boeing and Spirit considered older workers to be more expensive.
Last month, in a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that workers bear the burden of proving that age was the key factor, in a demotion or layoff. That changed a long-standing interpretation of the laws, which called for a worker to show that age was just one factor in the employment decision.
In another 5-4 ruling last year, the Supreme Court held that Kentucky’s retirement system does not discriminate against older workers, even though the system deprives employees older than 55 of certain benefits.
Given the recent change in the law, it will be interesting to see how this case will be decided, and what, if any, relief will be granted.