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A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday the State Department can’t force its employees to retire just because they’re working in a foreign country.John R. Miller Jr., a safety inspector at the U.S. embassy in Paris, filed a lawsuit against the department, claiming he was forced to retire in July 2007 after he turned 65, The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog reported Tuesday.
Miller said his forced retirement violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
And while the State Department admitted it terminated Miller because of his age, a common practice in France where retirement is mandated at 65, the department claimed its actions were protected by The Basic Authorities Act.
In its arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. contended the Basic Authorities Act exempted it from the ADEA if violating the anti-discrimination law were in the interest of hiring more U.S. citizens overseas, Law Blog reported.
But the appeals court didn’t buy that argument. The court reversed a lower court’s ruling and decreed the State Department isn’t exempt from the discrimination law.
“Even if the State Department were correct in reading this ambiguous passage as relating to State Department hiring, it is unclear how allowing the United States to discriminate against its own citizens on the basis of their age — or disability, race, religion, or sex — would promote the hiring of U.S. workers abroad,” Judge Merrick Garland wrote in the majority opinion, according to Law Blog.
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