Supreme Court Rejects Reverse Age Discrimination Claim by 'Younger Older' Employees; Employers Can Favor Oldest Workers


PUBLISHED ON: June 25, 2004

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This article originally appeared in Anderson Kill's Employment Law Insider (Spring 2004).

By a vote of 6 to 3, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) does not prevent an employer from giving more preferable treatment to older individuals within the age protected (i.e., over the age of 40) category, at the expense of “younger” workers who are also over age 40. (General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline, No. 02-1080, February 24, 2004) The issue arose under a new provision in a collective bargaining agreement which granted certain retiree health benefits only to workers who had reached age 50 by July 1, 1997. The previous agreement granted retiree health benefits to all employees with 30 years of service with the company, regardless of age.