The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that back pay is a mandatory legal remedy under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which is not subject to the court’s discretion.
As the court noted in EEOC v. Baltimore County, Congress adopted the enforcement procedures and remedies of the Fair Labor Standards Act into the ADEA. Under the FLSA, an employer who violates the law “shall be liable” for unpaid wages. Accordingly, because back pay is a mandatory legal remedy under the FLSA, it must also be a mandatory legal remedy under the ADEA. This differs from Title VII, in which back pay is a discretionary award.