Smith v. City of Jackson, 544 U.S. 228, 125 S. Ct. 1536 (2005)

A group of police officers older than 40 challenged the decision of the City of Jackson, Mississippi to raise the starting salaries of officers with less than five years of seniority in order to bring starting salaries up to the regional average. Since officers with less than five years of seniority were disproportionately under 40 years of age, plaintiffs alleged that the policy had a disparate impact upon them in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). While the Supreme Court stated that a disparate impact theory of liability such as that set forth by plaintiffs in this case is available under the ADEA, it concluded that this particular lawsuit had been properly dismissed because plaintiffs had failed to identify a specific employment practice that allegedly resulted in a statistical disparity and, in any event, the City’s plan was based on reasonable factors other than age.