On May 13, 2007, the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the Western District of Pennsylvania against Latrobe Specialty Steel Company. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief and damages on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated claiming that Latrobe ...
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On May 13, 2007, the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the Western District of Pennsylvania against Latrobe Specialty Steel Company. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief and damages on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated claiming that Latrobe violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621.
The plaintiffs alleged that Latrobe engaged in practices that discriminated against its older work force in conducting terminations and forced retirements over an extended period time. The four plaintiffs named in the complaint are all over the age of fifty and had worked at Latrobe for a number of years. They were all terminated after sending and receiving inappropriate material on their Latrobe email accounts, and were replaced by younger employees. The plaintiffs claimed that they suffered disparate treatment under the ADEA in that Latrobe's stated justifications for terminating the plaintiffs were a pretext for willful age discrimination, as well as disparate impact under the ADEA, because Latrobe favored younger employees and targeted older ones in deciding who would be terminated following the discovery of the emails. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the second claim regarding disparate impact on June 17, 2008.
The court denied the defendant's motions for summary judgment on March 31, 2009, and April 23, 2009. The court then granted the defendant's motions to exclude any claims under the ADEA that accrued before May 17, 2007.
Latrobe contended that it was entitled to summary judgment because the plaintiffs were unable to show any evidence that age was a determinative factor in its decision to terminate their employment. Latrobe conceded that the plaintiffs established a prima facie case of discrimination, but maintained that their decision to terminate the plaintiffs was based on their violations of Latrobe policy. The court found that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that "but for" their ages, Latrobe would not have terminated their employment for sending sexually explicit and pornographic emails. Additionally, the plaintiffs admitted that they sent the emails and could not dispute that doing so violated Latrobe's policies.
On December 29, 2010, the Court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted and dismissed the collective action claims. 761 F.Supp.2d 261 (W.D. Penn. 2010). The plaintiffs appealed this order.
The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the Western District of Pennsylvania's holding on November 17, 2011. The Third Circuit held that a reasonable jury could not find that the plaintiffs would not have been fired but for their ages. Additionally, given the conduct in which the plaintiffs engaged and the lack of sufficient evidence suggesting an atmosphere of age discrimination at Latrobe, there was no basis for a finding that Latrobe's proffered rationale was a pretext for age discrimination. 451 F. App'x 238 (3d Cir. 2011). The plaintiffs were subsequently taxed $21,863.88 in favor of the defendant. Anna Jones - 10/25/2015