The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with a life insurer in a case involving allegations of age discrimination.
The plaintiff in the case, Gross vs. FBL Financial Services Inc., has accused FBL, West Des Moines, Iowa, of changing the scope of his job in the company’s claims administration operations because of his age.
A jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, Jack Gross.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the jury verdict, and Gross appealed the reversal.
The Supreme Court has held in a 5-4 ruling that a plaintiff bringing a disparate-treatment claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 “must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that age was the ‘but-for’ cause of the challenged adverse employment action,” according to the case syllabus. “The burden of persuasion does not shift to the employer to show that it would have taken the action regardless of age, even when a plaintiff has produced some evidence that age was one motivating factor in that decision.”