The legal issue in question in the case of Russ B v Melvin Watt is the alleged discrimination of the complainant on the basis of age. Mr. Russ sued his federal employer (Federal Housing Finance Agency) in court because he felt discriminated against in the workplace. He argues that his younger colleagues received Performance-Based Benefits for the financial years 2012 and 2013 while he was left out despite him making equal contributions to the Agency.  In making its ruling, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found out that the defendant did not exhibit any intentions or actions of discrimination against the complainant. The Commission weighed the evidence against the provisions of The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (29 USC §6101) in making its decision. This rule – the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 – was drawn to protect workers aged 40 years and above from discrimination in the workplace. The rule is categorical on the cases that amount to discrimination on the basis of age in matters of hiring, composition, dismissal, or promotion (Department of Labor, n.d). Thus, none of the items under this rule were violated by the Agency.

The Commission first sought to identify if indeed the complainant’s denial of Performance-Based Benefits was pre-textual. Therefore, it principally based its judgment on the report by the Agency that was served to the complainant in due time before the hearing. In the Agency’s report, the complainant did not establish a prima facie case to prove that there was discrimination in the workplace. Further, the Agency noted that withholding employment benefits was not an adverse event. The Agency also gave its policy on issuing of benefits to its employees. It also gave its management’s directive on the distribution of Performance-Based Benefits that was founded on among other things teamwork and productivity. According to the Agency’s report, the complainant did not portray exemplary performance characteristics that could attract Performance-Based Benefits. In particular, he did not perform above his personal capacity, he had failed to meet critical deadlines, his work had minimal impact, and he failed to attend team meetings.

The complainant also claimed that while working under his immediate supervisor, he had overheard the later make derogatory remarks against elderly workers. In addition to validating the Agency’s reports, the commission also sought to find the weight of this allegation in the light of the denied benefits. In making its ruling, the Commission negated the Agency’s claim that withholding an employee’s benefits was not an adverse event. It also assumed, contrary to the Agency’s position, that the complainant had succeeded in making a prima facie case. However, due to the fact that the complainant’s colleagues fell in the age bracket provided The Age Discrimination Act of 1967 (revised 1975), the former’s denial of benefits did not amount to discrimination. Further, the Commission was not convinced that the alleged remarks by the complainant’s immediate supervisor existed or they were substantive in the context of age discrimination

In conclusion, the Commission made the correct decision with regards to the provisions of The Age Discrimination Act of 1967. This case is applicable in the contemporary workplace setting because it challenges employees to maintain exemplary performance for them to receive benefits. It also saves the employer from allegations meted against them mostly by disgruntled employees.