Court Says Worker Can Claim Hostile Work Environment under ADEA

September 15, 2011 ( – The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled a worker can sue over a hostile work environment under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

 Business Insurance reports that in its ruling, the appellate court held for the first time within its jurisdiction that a plaintiff could successfully file a hostile work environment claim based on age discrimination. The court said Milan Dediol had established the four requirements for such a claim: he was over 40, subjected to harassment, the harassment created an “objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive” work environment, and “there exists some basis for liability on the part of the employer.”  

Business Insurance said the court also decided Dediol could proceed with his discrimination claim for a hostile work environment based on religion, and his constructive discharge claim.  

According to the news report, Dediol, 65, charged the treatment started when he asked his supervisor if he could take off work to volunteer at a church event. An assistant manager granted Dediol permission, but his supervisor overruled the decision calling him old, using expletives, and threatening to fire Dediol if he attended the event.  

The opinion said that after this incident, the supervisor never called Dediol by name, instead referring to him as “old mother******,” “old man,” and “pops.” He also made comments disparaging Dediol’s religion.  

The supervisor also provoked fights with Dediol, and after one instance where the supervisor threatened to beat him and charged at him in front of other workers, Dediol did not come to work the next day and was fired for abandoning his job.  

The case is Dediol vs. Best Chevrolet Inc. and Donald Clay.