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McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publishing Co.

United States Supreme Court
513 U.S. 352 (1995)


Christine McKennon (plaintiff) worked for Nashville Banner Publishing Co. (Banner) (defendant) for 30 years. When McKennon was 62 years old, Banner fired her due to what it claimed were necessary cost-cutting, workforce-reduction measures. McKennon believed she was fired because of her age and sued Banner under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. She sought statutory remedies, including back pay. McKennon admitted in deposition testimony that during her last year at Banner, she had copied confidential company documents regarding Banner’s finances and shared them with her husband. McKennon claimed she did this because she suspected she was going to be fired because of her age and wanted copies of the records for “protection.” After her deposition, Banner notified McKennon that her actions of removing and copying the documents violated her job duties and informed her (a second time) that she was fired. The lower courts concluded that McKennon was not entitled to relief on her ADEA claim, because Banner’s later-acquired knowledge of her wrongdoing would have resulted in her (lawful) termination anyway. McKennon petitioned for review by the United States Supreme Court, which was granted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

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