Case #379.0

Age Discrimination

Publication Date: January 01, 1981
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In this disguised case, Nick Werden, a 59-year-old scientist and former division head at the Kennedy Space Exploration and Research Administration, brings an age discrimination suit against his employers after he loses his bid for a new position to an outside candidate. The case reviews the hiring procedures and criteria used by Dr. Martin Miller, head of the Space and Aeronomics Division, and then traces the complaint process through informed negotiations and ultimately to the ruling of KSERA's equal employment opportunity officer. Following Werden's lead, Miller agrees to waive a formal hearing and allow the EEO officer to make his decision based only on the investigative file assembled as part of the complaint proceedings. Much to Miller's surprise and chagrin, the EEO official rules in favor of Werden and orders Miller to place Werden in the disputed position or an equivalent post. This case makes the point that managerial responsibility extends beyond purely substantive issues. Miller was so focused on achieving the technical goals of his department that he failed to identify the very real nature of Werden's threat to sue. Managers, particularly public managers, must recognize political, as well as substantive, challenges and incorporate them into their management strategy.

Other Details

Case Author:
David H. Jernigan
Faculty Lead:
Stephanie Gould
Pages (incl. exhibits):