EEOC's Amended ADEA Regulation Raises the Bar for Employers' RFOA Defense
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") has issued a long-awaited final rule ("Final Rule"), which amends the regulation on the "reasonable factors other than age" ("RFOA") defense available under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). The Final Rule is available at 29 C.F.R. Part 1625. The EEOC previously published proposed rules regarding the RFOA defense on March 31, 2008, and then on February 18, 2010. The Final Rule takes into account public comments received on those proposals.
Unfortunately for employers, the Final Rule was not worth the wait. The revised regulation, which takes effect on April 29, 2012, imposes rigorous procedural and factual requirements for employers when attempting to establish the reasonableness of a policy or practice that causes an age-based adverse impact.