McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publishing Co.

PETITIONER: McKennon
RESPONDENT: Nashville Banner Publishing Co.
LOCATION: Spendthrift Farm

DOCKET NO.: 93-1543
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 513 US 352 (1995)
ARGUED: Nov 02, 1994
DECIDED: Jan 23, 1995

ADVOCATES:
Irving L. Gornstein - on behalf of the United States, as amicus curiae, supporting the petitioner
Michael G. Terry - for petitioner
Michael E. Terry - on behalf of the Petitioner
R. Eddie Wayland - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publishing Co.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 02, 1994 in McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publishing Co.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 23, 1995 in McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publishing Co.

William H. Rehnquist:

I have the opinion of the Court in two cases to announce.

The first is number 93-1543 Mckennon versus Nashville Banner Publishing Company.

This case arises under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

An employee who in violation of the Act is discharged because of age discrimination has a cause of action against the employer, and for some 30-years petitioner Christen McKennon worked for respondent Nashville Banner Publishing Co.

When she was 62-years-old the Banner discharged her, the Banner said, her discharge was part of a workforce reduction plan.

McKennon thought that her age was the reason for dismissal and she filed suit under the Act.

The Banner took McKennon’s deposition and discovered that Mckennon had copied confidential financial records and had removed them from the premises.

The employer claimed this misconduct would have resulted in her immediate termination had it been discovered earlier.

The Banner claimed that McKennon’s misconduct was sufficient to bar her from all relief under the Act and the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed with that possession.

In an opinion authored by Justice Kennedy we reverse the Sixth Circuit because we think that a violation of the Act can’t be totally disregarded that way.

We hold that the beginning point in the trial court’s formulation of a remedy should be calculation of back pay from the date of the unlawful discharge to the date the new information was discovered.

In determining the appropriate order for relief the Court consider taking into further account equitable circumstances.

An absolute rule baring recovery of back pay however we think undermines the objectives of the Act.

But we do decide that in this case as a general rule in cases of this type neither reinstatement nor front pay that is future wages is an appropriate remedy for a conduct or misconduct would have resulted in terminations and the opinion is unanimous.