Filing age discrimination complaints in federal courts
Hildebrand v Allegheny [Pennsylvania] County, USCA, 3rdCircuit, Docket 13-1231
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that a state or local government employee may not maintain an age discrimination in employment action pursuant to the Civil Rights Statute, 42 U.S.C 1983, but may only proceed under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act [ADEA], 29 U.S.C. §§621-634.
The court agreed with Allegheny County’s argument that the ADEA “is the exclusive remedy for claims of age discrimination in employment” and thus its employee was precluded from bring a §1983 cause of action alleging age discrimination, explaining that §1983 is a statutory remedy* and Congress retains the authority to repeal it or replace it with an alternative remedy, in this instance the ADEA.
The Circuit Court also held that the plaintiff in this action was not obligated to plead exhaustion of administrative remedies with particularity but may, instead, allege in general terms that the required administrative process had been completed.
* The Circuit Court also noted that The Supreme Court has held that §1983 suits are precluded by statute in a case where a plaintiff sought vindication of a constitutional – rather than a statutory – right, citing Smith v Robinson, 468 U.S. 992.