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Insofar as Smith v. City of Jackson, Mississippi (2005) involved a dispute over age discrimination in public employment, it should be of interest to educators. At issue in Smith was the nature of the relationship between the legal concept of “disparate impact” and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The Court's decision in Smith was such a narrow interpretation of the ADEA that it has placed the future of the law's viability in jeopardy as a tool to protect employees. Smith's importance rests in the fact that it calls on public employers, including school boards and other educational institutions, to offer valid explanations for practices that hint at having a disparate impact on older employees. Smith enabled the Court not only ...

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