Diaz v. Eagle Produce, 521 F.3d 1201 (9th Cir. 2008)

Phoenix Agro Invest, Inc. and SAM Management, Inc. operate a commercial broccoli and melon farm in Arizona and usually lay-off workers during the winter months. Among others, the company laid off plaintiffs, four workers over the age of 50 years old, who challenged the lay off under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). The district court granted summary judgment to the employer, but the Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal as to one of the four workers based on evidence of satisfactory job performance and an accumulation of circumstantial evidence that could lead reasonable jurors to draw an inference of age discrimination. Among other things, the Court considered statistical evidence that showed a drop in the average age of workers hired after a particular supervisor took over, while the average age of workers who were laid off rose.