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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today

In Tubergen v. St. Vincent Hospital (SD Ind., Judge Tinder), an 11-page opinion involving a 65 year-old physician suing on the basis of age discrimination, Judge Flaum concludes:

In this restructuring context, St. Vincent was required to provide its older employees with the same placement opportunities as it provided its younger employees who were subject to the RIF. Radue v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., 219 F.3d 612, 615 (7th Cir. 2000). Crucially, if the older employee fails to take advantage of those opportunities, they foreclose any claim of discrimination. Torry v. Northrup Grumman Corp., 399 F.3d 876, 879 (7th Cir. 2005).

Because Tubergen also did not put forth evidence that his failure to apply was caused by a discriminatory practice, St. Vincent is not required to offer a legitimate reason for its actions. See Sublett v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 463 F.3d 731, 738-39 (7th Cir. 2006). Even so, St. Vincent does provide such a explanation: it sought to eliminate the entire Service Line structure in order to streamline its operations. Tubergen provides no reason to doubt the veracity of this claim, and it would be difficult for him to do so knowing that over 300 young and old employees were eliminated and many young and old employees were retained. He tries to argue that the strategy did not cut costs, but this Court’s role is not to measure the success of a given strategy. We must simply ascertain whether St. Vincent believed that its restructuring efforts would attain its stated goals, and we see no reason to doubt that here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 21, 2008 01:41 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions