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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Tice v. American Airlines Inc. EE-IL-0276
Docket / Court 95-06890 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On November 27, 1995, a group of 14 pilots filed suit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 631(a) against American Airlines in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for ... read more >
On November 27, 1995, a group of 14 pilots filed suit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 631(a) against American Airlines in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as back pay, alleging that the defendant discriminated against them on the basis of age. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) regulation that no person can serve as a commercial pilot or copilot after the age of 60, did not apply to the third officer position, referred to as the flight officer.

The crux of the matter lay in American Airlines' policy to force captains to retire at the age of 60, rather than let them serve as a flight officer. Some of the older models of aircraft, though they were being phased out of American Airline's fleet, required the flight officer position for the purpose of monitoring fuel, electrical and other systems on the plane. Tice v. American Airlines, 288 F.3d 314 (7th Cic. 2002). All of the plaintiffs in the suit were former captains who wanted to downgrade to flight officer rather than retire. Tice v. American Airlines, 288 F.3d 315 (7th Cic. 2002).

On March 31, 1997, the Court (Judge Williams) entered judgment on the pleadings, terminating the case. The plaintiffs appealed, and on February 25, 1999, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the District Court's decision. There followed several years of discovery.

On August 29, 2001 the Court (Judge Kennelly) dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The plaintiffs appealed and on April 30, 2002, the 7th Circuit (Judges Posner, Kanne, Rovner) modified the lower Court's decision, staying the judgment pending the decision of an arbitration board hearing on the issue. The 7th Circuit Court also remanded the case to the District Court on grounds that the plaintiffs' suit was dependent on their preferred interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement, in which event they should be in arbitration. The Court stated the only basis on which the plaintiffs could be entitled to bump existing holders of the flight-officer positions is if the collective bargaining agreement between the airline and its pilots' union entitles more senior pilots to bump less senior ones from those positions. In the absence of such a contractual provision, an employer would have no duty to give another job to an employee validly disqualified from holding his present job. Tice v. American Airlines, 288 F.3d 315 (7th Cic. 2002). The Court paraphrased the plaintiffs perspective on this issue when it stated that nothing in the collective bargaining agreement authorizes such discrimination. Tice v. American Airlines, 288 F.3d 317 (7th Cic. 2002).

The arbitration board interpreted the CBA against the plaintiffs, and the defendants moved to remove the stay and dismiss the case.

On January 20, 2004, the District Court (Judge Kennelly) granted the defendants motion for dismissal justifying the decision by the arbitration board's decision on the matter. Tice v. American Airlines, 6932 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7 (N.D.I.L. 2004). The plaintiffs appealed and on June 29, 2004, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Posner, Kanne, Rovner) upheld the lower court's decision. They supported their decision simply by saying that as long as what the arbitrators did can fairly be described as interpretation, the Court's hands are tied. Tice v. American Airlines, 373 F.3d 854 (7th Cir. 2004). Thus, the case was close on July 7, 2004.

Matthew Aibel - 05/04/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Defendant-type
Transportation
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
General
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq.
Defendant(s) American Airlines
Plaintiff Description 14 pilots at or over the age of 60 who had been employed at American Airlines
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2004
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:95-cv-06890 (N.D. Ill.) 11/27/1995
EE-IL-0276-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
7th Circuit decision to repeal dismissal and send to arbitration 04/30/2002 (288 F.3d 313)
EE-IL-0276-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
EEOC Report from year 2002 06/13/2003
EE-IL-0276-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Order dismissing case 01/20/2004 (2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 6932) (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0276-0004.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Decision upholding District Court's dismissal 06/29/2004 (373 F.3d 851)
EE-IL-0276-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Duff, Brian Barnett (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Kanne, Michael Stephen (N.D. Ind., Seventh Circuit)
EE-IL-0276-0002 | EE-IL-0276-0003 | EE-IL-0276-9000
Kennelly, Matthew F. (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0276-0004 | EE-IL-0276-9000
Keys, Arlander (N.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
EE-IL-0276-9000
Posner, Richard Allen (Seventh Circuit)
EE-IL-0276-0002 | EE-IL-0276-0003 | EE-IL-0276-9000
Rovner, Ilana Kara Diamond (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit)
EE-IL-0276-0002 | EE-IL-0276-0003 | EE-IL-0276-9000
Schenkier, Sidney I. (N.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
EE-IL-0276-9000
Williams, Ann Claire (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Robert R. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Leavitt, Josh Michael (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Serwer, Alan Michael (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Booth, Gordon Dean Jr. (Georgia)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Conner, Terrence G. (Florida)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Donati, Peter F. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Gangemi, Columbus R. Jr. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
LaPointe, Martin K. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Marmer, Ronald L. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
O'Flaherty, Tracy A. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Owens, L. Dale (Georgia)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Pierce, Terrill Elise (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Simon, Leslie A. (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Solovy, Jerold S. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Wharton, Scott Anthony (Georgia)
EE-IL-0276-9000
Other Lawyers Boyle, Cassandra Lynn (Illinois)
EE-IL-0276-9000

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