Heffner Age Discrimination Suit Ordered into Mediation
The age discrimination suit brought by Corrections Officer William Heffner against the Village of Quincy in Michigan has been ordered into mediation by the judge in the case. Heffner, 59, had applied for the newly-created post of Chief of Police when Quincy ended its relationship with the Branch County Sheriff’s office and created its own police force. Despite having more experience and holding an Associate’s Degree, which had been advertised as a requirement for the post, Heffner was passed over for a younger man, Scott Olney, with less experience and no degree. Heffner then filed his discrimination lawsuit.
Quincy representatives assert the Associate’s Degree was never a requirement, but rather a consideration. The judge however rejected this as grounds for dismissing the case, referencing another piece of evidence: An email from a citizen of Quincy that was distributed to the Village Council, in which the citizen questions how long Heffner would be able to serve in the post due to his age.
However, while the council has admitted seeing the email, the email itself has been deleted.
In an initial complaint, The Michigan Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that there was evidence for an age discrimination case, but declined to pursue the case itself. It did, however, give Heffner explicit support in pursuing the case in civil court. Heffner remains employed – at a higher salary than he would have received as police chief – as a corrections officer with the Michigan Department of Corrections.