Plaintiff worked as an Illinois Assistant Attorney General for almost six years. He was over 60 at the time of his termination. ?He believed he was fired because of his age and gender, and sued the State of Illinois, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (in ?her? individual ?and ?official ?capacities), ?and four additional Attorney General employees in their individual capacities.
The individual capacity defendants argued at the district court that they were entitled to qualified immunity for the ?1983 age discrimination claim because the ADEA is the exclusive remedy for age discrimination claims. The district court disagreed. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision on interlocutory appeal.?? ?The appellate court noted that the ADEA is not the exclusive remedy for age discrimination in employment ?claims, ?and ?does ?not ?preclude ?a
- 1983 equal protection claim. Although age is not a suspect classification, the Supreme Court has held that states may not discriminate on that basis if such discrimination is not ?rationally related to a legitimate state interest.? Since, at the time of the alleged wrongdoing, it was clearly established that? age discrimination? in employment ?violates ?the? Equal ?Protection Clause, the Seventh Circuit concluded that the individual defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity.
The decision created a 4-1 circuit split. Madigan v. Levin, 133 S. Ct. 1600 (3/18/2013).