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WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided appeals court panel has ruled that the State Department improperly dismissed a former employee solely because he turned 65.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled 2-1 Tuesday that former employee John R. Miller was protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The court rejected the State Department’s claim that the law’s age discrimination protections didn’t apply in Miller’s case. State argued for an exemption because Miller was hired in France under a contract that followed French practice of mandating retirement at 65.

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