Twa V. Thurston Essay

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Nelson Mendoza Professor K, Esq. Aviation Law 7 December 2013 What defines “Willfulness” under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act? Can an airline adopt a “privilege of employment” to a younger group of employees and not an older group if it’s mandated by the federal government to release these employees from their employment due to their age? In Supreme Court Case of Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Thurston the court granted certiorari to the second circuit to consider three issues under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act. First, was there a standard of liability under the ADEA. Second, was there a standard for willfulness under the ADEA. Third, whether a union can be monetarily liable under the ADEA. Let’s begin with the facts of the case. Two airline captains working at the time for Trans World Airline brought suit against their former employer and the union, The Air Line Pilots Association, charging age discrimination for adopting a set of rules for pilots applying for the position of flight engineer and a denying these rules to pilots over 60. In 1977, TWA and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) through a collective-bargaining agreement had agreed upon that every employee in a cockpit position was required to retire when he reached the age of 60. This provision for mandatory retirement was lawful under the ADEA, as part of a "bona fide seniority system”, United Airlines v. McMann,(, 2013) However in 1978, the Age Discrimination and Employment Act was amended to prohibit the mandatory retirement of a protected individual because of a person’s age. TWU being concerned that the company's retirement policy, at least as it applied to flight engineers, violated the amended ADEA. Flight engineer position was not a BFOQ, which stands for bono fide occupational qualification, and therefore mandatory retirement at age 60 was

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