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Dismissal for Lack of Skills Not Evidence of Age Discrimination
Description A long-time employee of Honeywell was laid off with other employees who ranked low on a skill evaluation of all employees to determine which ones would best fit the needs of the company. The claim that the skill evaluation was a pretext for age discrimination was dismissed. (Updated 10-3-97)
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Pretext
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Kolbow had worked in the engineering department of the Home and Building Controls division of Honeywell for 38 years when he was dismissed. The company reviewed the technical skills required by their employees, ranked the employees by those skills, and laid off those who ranked the lowest, which included Kolbow. Kolbow ranked low because he did not have an engineering degree or training and experience in computer technology. He sued for age discrimination, claiming the skill requirements were a pretext for age discrimination. Summary judgment for employer. Kolbow's "arguments" did not present a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Kolbow was the victim of intentional age discrimination. Kolbow appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "Kolbow’s supervisors decided that his skills [and those of 46 other employees] were not sufficient for Honeywell’s plan to upgrade quickly the technological skills of its engineering employees. We find nothing in Kolbow’s objections to [his supervisor’s evaluation] from which a jury could conclude that Honeywell’s proffered rationale for his discharge was evidence of pretext."
Citation Kolbow v. Honeywell, Inc., ---F.3d--- (1997 WL 528357; 8th Cir.)
122 F.3d 1127 (8th Cir., 1997)

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