Seven years after Congress enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and four years after the enactment of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (the ADEA), the Supreme Court, in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., enunciated the doctrine of disparate impact as a means of establishing liability under Title VII. Since that time, the doctrine has evolved considerably and its application and contours have been redefined by the Court as well as by Congress. Within this evolution there has been a debate among the courts and commentators as to whether the doctrine may be used to establish liability under the ADEA as well. In Mullin v. Raytheon Co., the First Circuit joined two other circuits answering that question in the negative, and held that a claim of disparate impact is not cognizable under the ADEA. This Note details the backdrop of the issue the First Circuit decided, starting in Part II with a discussion of the ADEA. This includes consideration of the purposes behind the ADEA, its similarities to Title VII, and a review of some of its salient provisions. This is followed by a discussion of employment discrimination claims, briefly outlining the disparate treatment theory and focusing on the disparate impact doctrine, including a review of how the doctrine has evolved over the years as well as the procedural aspects of presenting a disparate impact claim. Finally, this Note concludes that the First Circuit was correct in holding that disparate impact claims are not permitted under the ADEA based on the reasons it cited as well as other rationales relied upon by other courts and commentators.

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