Miami-Dade County v. Eghbal, ___ So. 3d ___, 36 Fla. L. Weekly D73 (Fla. 3d DCA 1/5/11)

The trial court properly denied the County’s motion for directed verdict in an action by a 69 year-old employee for age discrimination and retaliation.  The employee had applied unsuccessfully four times for a promotion.  The employee established a prima facie case of age discrimination by proving:  “(1) he was sixty-nine years old; (2) he was qualified for the position sought; (3) he was rejected for the position, and (4) the position was filled by a substantially younger worker.”  The employee also established a prima facie case of retaliation by proving:  (1) he was engaged in a statutorily protected activity:  filing a complaint with the EEOC; (2) he suffered adverse employment action:  the denial of a promotion; and (3) causal relationship:  he testified that his complaint is the type of news that “spreads around immediately in the County” and the notes of one decision maker reflected that the employee thought he was treated “extremely unfairly” by the County.  Judge Schwartz dissented on the ground that evidence of causation was insufficient.