WASHINGTON – March 30, 2005 – The Supreme Court made it easier this week for any worker over 40 to allege age discrimination, ruling that employers can be held liable even if they never intended any harm.

The unanimous ruling sides with older police officers in saying they do not have to prove that the city of Jackson, Mississippi, deliberately tried to discriminate against them, just show that the policies disproportionately harmed them. Nevertheless, the high court dismissed the suit, saying officers did not demonstrate that.

The ruling means that workers age 40 and over – about half the nation’s work force – now have less of a burden to raise their claim in court when suing under federal law.

(Smith v. City of Jackson, 03-1160)