On April 6, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in Babb v. Wilkie, 140 S. Ct. 1168 (2020), setting out an easier path for federal employees to succeed on an age discrimination claim.
Prior to the Babb decision, because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, 557 U.S. 167 (2009), age discrimination plaintiffs had to prove that age was the “but-for” causation of the adverse employment action. This is a more stringent causation standard than other discrimination claims, such as those based on race or sex under Title VII.
The Babb v. Wilkie case does not change the landscape for private sector employees, as it holds that the federal-sector provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (prohibiting age-based discrimination for any agency employees age 40 or older) requires a federal employee need not prove that age was a but-for cause of the challenged employment decision in order for the federal government to be held liable.
The complete article, "Babb v. Wilkie — Lower Causation Standard for Federal Sector Age Bias Claims Means Fewer Remedies for Federal Employeese," can be found in Thomson Reuters Westlaw on July 1, 2020 (login required).