Unfortunately, many federal court decisions live in infamy.
Now the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City has added a new one to the list.
A three-judge panel ruled last week that a discriminatory federal hiring program does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause because it involves age discrimination, rather than race or sex discrimination.
The Equal Protection Clause states the government shall not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.
Former President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2010 creating the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Pathways Recent Graduates Hiring Program. The program, which took effect in 2012, created a back-door exception to the Age Discrimination in Hiring Act of 1967, allowing federal agencies to limit hiring to applicants who graduated within the past two years. The Pathways program has had an overwhelmingly disparate impact on older workers, who have been barred from applying for 100,000 jobs and counting. This is clear disparate impact discrimination.
The 2nd Circuit panel states in its decision that the federal government proffered a “rational basis” for allowing age discrimination under the Pathways Program – “to replenish a workforce containing an evergrowing number of Federal employees near[ing] retirement age with students and recent graduates.” Moreover, the panel said the government’s rationale is connected to a “legitimate” government purpose.