Employment-Seventh Circuit Rules That Former Employee Has Made Out A Case Of ADEA Violation

In Mullin, II v. Temco Machinery, Inc., No. 13‐1338 (7th Cir. 2013), the plaintiff, John Mullin, II (“Mullin”), brought suit alleging that he was fired because of his age, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (the “ADEA”). He was an employee with an allegedly less than sterling performance as a follower of corporate policy. He was also the oldest, and most profitable, salesman for a company that sells fire trucks and other rescue equipment, Temco Machinery, Inc. (“Teemco”). After Temco fired the fifty‐six year old Mullin, it quickly hired two inexperienced salesmen in their twenties. Mullin brought suit, and the district court granted summary judgment to Temco. Mullin appeals.

In analyzing the case, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Court”) noted that Mullin has chosen to make out the ADEA violation by introducing circumstantial evidence, which allows the trier of fact to infer age discrimination by the employer. The Court found that, in this case, a reasonable jury could conclude that Temco fired Mullin because of his age. Mullin has put forth ample circumstantial evidence, including examples of suspicious timing and ambiguous statements. Moreover, each of Temco’s alleged reasons for firing Mullin is either genuinely contested, seemingly inaccurate, or both. As such, the Court concluded that summary judgment is not appropriate. Accordingly, it reversed the district court’s decision and remanded the case back to the district court.