Monday, April 10, 2006

employment - age discrim. - PHRA - release

Griest v. Pennsylvania State University - Superior Court - April 4, 2006

Former employee's agreement/release barred him, on its face, from making any claims under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Nonetheless, he filed a claim based on age discrimination in a common pleas action, which the trial court dismissed on the basis of the release, citing Long v.Sears, 105 F3d 1529 (3d Cir. 1997) and Wastak v. Lehigh Valley Health Network, 342 F3d 281 (3d Cir. 2003).

The appellate court affirmed, holding that
- the release agreement did not violate any state public policy;
- the technical requirements of the federal Older Worker's Benefits Protection Act (OWBPA) concerning waiver of federal ADEA rights, 29 USC 626(f)(1), were not relevant to a state cause of action under the PHRA;
- a release not procured by fraud, duress or mutual mistake is binding between the parties.