The Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled that a company can be sued under the state’s discrimination law, M.G.L. c. 151B, Section 4(1B), for reducing its number of aging employees while actively replacing them with “young talent.” While overturning the trial court’s decision which dismissed the case, the Appeals Court wrote,
The summary judgment record in this case contains something rarely seen in discrimination cases: an e-mail trail documenting that [the company] was so concerned about its “aging” Boston work force that it instituted a series of reductions in force (RIF) designed to shed older workers to make room for “young talent.” Viewed in the light most favorable to [the company]…a rational fact finder could find that [it] engaged in a systematic effort to replace older workers, including [the plaintiff], to make room to hire younger ones, and that [the plaintiff] lost his job as a result.
Because there were facts in dispute from which a jury could find that age was not “treated neutrally” either in calling for the RIF or in selecting [the plaintiff] for the RIF, summary judgment should not have been granted.
Accordingly, we reverse.