Assignment 1- Age Discrimination


This assignment relates to the materials in Chapter 3 of your text. Please read the
scenario below and complete the questions that follow. This is a short assignment,
which is intended to gauge your comprehension of the material and your application of
the material to a set of facts.
Please submit your assignment through Assignments and label your submission
with your first initial, last name, A1 (i.e. GStengerA1). See more directions below.
The We Deny Everything Insurance Company (WDE) handled a massive volume of
claims each year in the corporate claims function, as well as in its four regional claims
centers. Corporate claims were located in sunny California and the regional offices were
located in Atlanta, Cleveland, Providence, and Las Vegas. Corporate claims were
headed by the senior vice president of corporate claims (SVP). Reporting to the SVP
were 2 managers of corporate claims (MCC-Life and MCC Homeowners/Residential)
and a highly skilled corporate claims specialist (CCS).
Each regional office (4) was headed by a regional center manager (RCM). The RCM
was responsible for both supervisors and claim specialists within the regional office. The
RCM’s reported to the vice president of regional claims (VPRC). This is the structure
before reorganization (Draw a chart for your own reference if this seems confusing).
WDE decided to reorganize its claims function by eliminating the 4 regional offices (and
the RCM position) and establishing numerous small field offices throughout the country.
The other part of the reorganization involved creating 5 new CCS positions. The CCS
position was to be redesigned and upgraded in terms of knowledge and skill
requirements. It was planned to staff these new CCS positions through internal
promotions from within the claims function.
The plaintiff in the case was Ron Whyme, a 53 year old RCM. Since his job was being
eliminated, Ron was asked by the SVP to apply for one of the new CCS positions. The
other RCM’s, all of whom were over the age of 40, were also asked to do so. Neither
Ron nor the other RCM’s were promoted to the new CCS positions. Many other
candidates were also bypassed, and some of them were also over the age of 40. The
promotions went to 5 claim specialists and supervisors from within the former regional
offices, all of whom were under age 40. Two of the newly promoted employees had
worked for, and actually reported to Ron, as the RCM.
Ron was not happy. Upon learning of his non-selection, Ron wanted to determine why
he was not promoted. What he learned led him to feel he has been discriminated
against because of his age. Ron retained experienced and very expensive legal
counsel, Abel Lincoln. Lincoln, a high-powered litigator who charges $950 per hour, met
informally with the SVP to try to determine what had happened in the promotion process
and why his client Ron had not been promoted. Lincoln was told that there were a large
number of candidates who were better qualified than Ron and that Ron lacked adequate
technical and communication skills for the new job of 008. The SVP refused to
reconsider Ron for the job and said that the decisions were “final”. Ron, through his
attorney Lincoln, then filed a suit in federal district court, claiming a violation of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act (1967). Lincoln then subpoenaed numerous WDE
documents and files including the personnel files of all applicants for the 008 positions.
Based on discussions with Ron and the subpoenaed documents, the following
information emerged about the promotion process actually used by WDE. The SVP and
the 2 MCC’s conducted the total process. They received no input from the VPRC or the
HR department. There was no formal written job description for the new 008 position,
nor was there a formal internal job posting as required by company policy. The SVP and
the MCC’s developed their own list of employees that they thought might be interested
in the job, including Ron, and then met to consider the list of candidates. The list was
quite large. At that meeting, the personnel files and previous performance appraisals of
the candidates were not reviewed or consulted. After deciding on the 5 candidates who
would be offered the promotion (all 5 accepted), the SVP and the MCC’s did browse the
personnel files and appraisals of only these 5 employees to check for any disconfirming
information about the employees. None was found.

Inspection of the files by Lincoln revealed no written comments suggesting age bias in
past performance appraisals for any of the candidates, including Ron. Also, there was
no indication that Ron lacked technical and communication skills. All of Ron’s previous
appraisal ratings were above average, and there was no evidence that Ron’s
performance had declined recently. An interview with the VPRC (Ron’s boss) revealed
that he had not been consulted at all during the promotion process. Ron’s boss could
not believe that Ron had not been promoted and in fact said that he was “shocked
beyond belief’. In his opinion, there was “absolutely no question” that Ron was qualified
in all respects for the 008 job.

Your assignment:

Based on the facts above:

1 . Prepare an analysis or short report that presents a convincing disparate
treatment claim that Ron has been intentionally discriminated against on
the basis of his age. Do not address the claim as a disparate impact one.

2. Prepare a rebuttal, from the viewpoint of WDE, to the disparate treatment


This analysis and rebuttal should not exceed 2 pages in length. (Format: 12 point,
single space, Times New Roman font).

Please refrain from using a cover sheet (save the trees).

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