The justices statement that their earlier agreement to hear the appeal by Florida utility workers was “improvidently granted,” effectively ends the workers’ legal battle over their claims that their employer targeted older workers in a company reorganization.
Had the high court ruled, it could have had a major impact by deciding whether the 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) governing on-the-job age bias would also apply if an employer fired a disproportionate share of older workers as part of economic cutbacks.
The ADEA covers about 70 million workers age 40 or older
or nearly half the work force. The law bans different
treatment for older workers just because of their age.
The case stems from a dispute between about 120 former Florida Power Corp. employers who claimed they were let go because of their age.
In an earlier ruling, the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals said the workers could not pursue their lawsuit under the age discrimination act.
The case is Adams v. Florida Power Corp., 01-584.