Drug Co. Lawyer not Eligible for Mandatory Retirement

A federal judge in Connecticut has ruled that a drug company improperly forced out its chief patent counsel after the lawyer reached age 65 in 2004.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut said the actions by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals against Robert Raymond constituted a violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), according to the National Law Journal.  Raymond also served as vice president for intellectual properly.

Bryant ordered the company to pay Raymond two years’ worth of his salary.

Bryant ruled that Raymond’s job did not qualify for an ADEA provision allowing employers to have mandatory retirements starting at 65 for employees who are senior policymakers for at least 24 months before taking retirement. To qualify, the employee must be among a handful of executives who manage a significant number of other workers or a large volume of the company’s business.

According to Bryant’s ruling, the company began transferring Raymond’s duties to another lawyer in his group. Bryant concluded that the job wouldn’t have met the executive threshold even if Raymond’s duties weren’t transferred.

Bryant wrote that Raymond and another lawyer to whom the company shifted some of Raymond’s duties during her tenure “reported no higher than the general counsel.”