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Successful defense of age and disability discrimination claims on appeal

Labor & Employment

As appellate counsel, Hinckley Allen convinced the Rhode Island Supreme Court to affirm summary judgment for a large automobile dealership sued for age and disability discrimination.  When the former employee argued that the trial court had erred in granting summary judgment, our brief and oral argument persuaded the Supreme Court that the employer had a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for terminating the employee and was not required to follow its progressive discipline policy before doing so.  According to the Supreme Court, courts should not sit as super personnel departments, assessing the merits or even the rationality of employers’ non-discriminatory business reasons, and an employer may terminate an employee for any reason, good or bad, provided the decision is not based on a discriminatory reason.