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Age discrimination claim is dismissed after court decides woman did not establish "causation."

Peggy Blizzard sued Marion Technical College and Jeffrey Nutter, her supervisor, alleging age discrimination.  Blizzard was an Accounts Payable Clerk for the college and had worked for it since 1992.  She was terminated in 2008.  She claimed the termination constituted age discrimination and retaliation against her for complaining about disparate treatment based on age.

The District Court dismissed Blizzard's claim, holding that she did not provide adequate evidence of discrimination.  The higher court disagreed, but upheld the summary disposition.  The Sixth Circuit ruled that while Blizzard demonstrated evidence of age discrimination, she could not prove that she was terminated as a result of discrimination or in retaliation for complaining. 

The Court held that since it was a year from the time of her last complaint until she was terminated, Blizzard could not prove that the complaint was related to the termination.  The Court also held that the negative employment review she received 8 days after the last discrimination complaint would not support a retaliation claim because it did not constitute a "materially adverse [employment] action."  Under existing law, the Court ruled that a negative employment evaluation does not rise to this level unless it "significantly impact[s] an employee's wages or professional advancement."  So you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.  React to an adverse evaluation, and you are acting prematurely.  Wait until you are fired, and you have waited too long.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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