Shelley v. Geren

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Employment Law
  • Date Filed: 01-12-2012
  • Case #: 10-35014
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: District Judge Wilken for the Court; Circuit Judge B. Fletcher; partial concurrence and partial dissent by Circuit Judge Bybee
  • Full Text Opinion

The district court’s grant of summary judgment was improper because plaintiff timely pursued administrative remedies and established a prima facie case of age discrimination for two job promotions in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Devon Shelley, an employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps"), filed an age discrimination suit against his employer, alleging that he had been passed up for two job promotions for a Chief of Contracting position in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). Shelley contended that because of age discrimination he was not considered for a 120-day temporary position, which later became a permanent position. The successful applicant for both the temporary and permanent positions was 11 years younger than Shelley and did not possess the same amount of relevant work experience or educational background. The district court granted the Corps’ summary judgment motion, finding that Shelly had failed to show that “but-for” his age he would have been selected for both the temporary and permanent positions. The Ninth Circuit reasoned that Shelley had “timely exhausted available administrative remedies” because the temporary and permanent positions could be viewed as one continuous application process. The Court also found that Shelley had established a prima facie case of age discrimination by showing that he was well qualified for the positions, was 54 years old at the time, and that the positions went to someone much younger. The Court held that the selection panel was aware of Shelley’s age during the application process and that a reasonable juror could conclude that he was significantly better qualified for the positions than the chosen applicant. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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