May a Company Reject A Job Applicant Based Solely On Age?

May a company refuse to consider hiring a job applicant based solely upon age? RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. thinks so, and has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to condone such behavior in a dispute involving a 49 year-old job applicant it rejected in 2007

Richard Villareal applied for a sales manager job with Reynolds in 2007. At that time, Reynolds had retained a subcontractor to review all job applications. Reynolds' subcontractor discarded Villareal's resume solely because he was older than 35. It also discarded the applications of almost 20,000 other older applicants based on their age. Of the roughly 1,000 sales managers the tobacco company hired between 2007 and 2010, only a dozen or so were over the age of 40. After a whistleblower emerged in 2010, Villarreal sued.

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted cert and will soon hear the case. Employment attorneys around the country are watching.

If you believe you have been denied employment based solely on your age, contact experienced counsel to discuss your rights. In the meantime, check back with for updates on the Villareal matter.


Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke is a partner in the Litigation, Labor & Employment Practice Group at Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP. EDUCATION: J.D., George Washington University Law School Georgetown University - B.A., magna cum laude Nichols High School School (Buffalo, New York) EMPLOYMENT: Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP - A partner in the Litigation Practice Group INTERESTS: Member, Nichols School Alumni Board Past Board Member and Officer, Western New York Trial Lawyers Association Bennett High School's Law Magnet Program Bar Association of Erie County Annual Mock Trial Tournament Attorney Coach Past Member, Kiwanis Club of Buffalo Past Member, Child & Family Services Annual Fund Board Leadership Buffalo Graduate, Class of 2006