State Department Cannot Force Out Worker at Age 65

August 14, 2012 ( – A federal court has found that the Secretary of State cannot fire a contracted overseas worker just because the worker turns 65.

By Rebecca Moore | August 14, 2012
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According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, such action is in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  

The court rejected the Department of State’s contention that section 2(c) of the Basic Authorities Act provided an exemption from the ADEA for contracted workers that provide services abroad. The court said if it were to accept the Department’s contention that the Basic Authorities Act creates an exemption from the ADEA, it would have to reach the same conclusion regarding both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  

That statute claims the Secretary of State may “employ individuals or organizations, by contract, for services abroad, and individuals employed by contract to perform such services shall not by virtue of such employment be considered to be employees of the United States Government for purposes of any law administered by the Office of Personnel Management (except that the Secretary may determine the applicability to such individuals of subsection (f) of this section and of any other law administered by the Secretary concerning the employment of such individuals abroad); and such contracts are authorized to be negotiated, the terms of the contracts to be prescribed, and the work to be performed, where necessary, without regard to such statutory provisions as relate to the negotiation, making, and performance of contracts and performance of work in the United States.”