Mandatory Age Retirement Case
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recognizes that an employer’s forceful retirement of an employee after his or her 65th birthday violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In Maxfield v. Sinclair Int’l, 766 F.2d 788 (3d Cir. 1985), the plaintiff Maxfield was employed by Sinclair International from 1940 until 1980. Shortly before his 65th birthday during a conversation with the company’s founder, Maxfield was questioned about his plans for retirement. When Maxfield vocalized his intentions to work until he was 70 years old, the founder articulated that if Maxfield did not retire on his 65th birthday, Sinclair International would find reason to retire Maxfield. One month later, Maxfield learned that the company decided to “retire him” and would be replacing him with another younger employee.
The Court ruled that Maxfield made a prima facie case of age discrimination by showing that he was replaced by an employee more than 20 years younger, and that Maxfield’s social security benefits could not be set off against damages. Lastly, the court found that Maxfield was entitled to “front pay”, a financial award for future earnings.