Age Discrimination in Employment Act Does Not Prevent Businesses from Offering Older Workers Better Retirement or Health Plan Than That Available to Younger Workers

By Stempel, Jeffrey W. | Journal of Risk and Insurance, June 2004 | Go to article overview

Age Discrimination in Employment Act Does Not Prevent Businesses from Offering Older Workers Better Retirement or Health Plan Than That Available to Younger Workers


Stempel, Jeffrey W., Journal of Risk and Insurance


General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline, 124 S. Ct. 1236, 157 L. Ed. 2d 1094, 2004 U.S. Lexis 1623 (U.S. Supreme Court--February 24, 2004)

As the saying goes, youth is wasted on the young. But on the other hand, the law provides substantial protection to the old (who not incoincidently vote at about twice the rate of the young). For example, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") protects workers over the age of 40 years from adverse job actions because of age. It condemns age discrimination, at least against older workers. In that sense, it is like other civil rights laws that preclude businesses from discriminating against racial minorities or on the basis of gender. Laws preventing race or gender discrimination have generally been interpreted to permit so-called "reverse discrimination" suits by persons outside the protected groups if persons in the protected group are not only protected from discrimination but also given privileges denied to others. For example, a company could not give women executives a Mercedes as a company car while giving similarly ranked male executives a Kia.

In Cline, the Supreme Court was faced with the question of whether the ADEA contains the same bar to reverse discrimination. The Court concluded that because the ADEA differs in important ways from Title VII or other civil rights laws, a company may favor older workers without committing illegal age discrimination. In other words, the ADEA is a "one-way" antidiscrimination statute barring discrimination against those over 40 but not a "two-way" antidiscrimination statute barring all disparate treatment because of age.

In 1997, General Dynamics entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the United Auto Workers union, which "eliminated the company's obligation to provide health benefits to subsequently retired employees, except as to then-current workers at least 50 years old." See 2004 U.S. LEXIS 1623 at *8. In other words, General Dynamics' workers that were over 50 in 1997 would have a better retirement package than those under 50, meaning that it was generally more advantageous to be a 51-year-old company worker rather than a 49-year-old company worker. Dennis Cline was then over 40 (the age triggering ADEA protections) but under 50. Cline and others in this age group objected to the new health-benefit terms of the collective bargaining agreement, complaining to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that the agreement violated ADEA by discriminating against them with respect to terms and conditions of employment because of their age. The EEOC agreed and informally intervened to attempt a negotiated resolution with the company.

When negotiations failed, Cline sued General Dynamics. The trial court, determining that ADEA provided no cause of action for "reverse age discrimination," dismissed the claim. A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (covering the states of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee) reversed, finding that any disparate treatment because of age is forbidden by the ADEA unless it is clearly authorized by the Act (e.g., certain jobs with demanding physical requirements can exclude older applicants). Of particular influence to the Sixth Circuit was that the EEOC backed Cline on this question. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Age Discrimination in Employment Act Does Not Prevent Businesses from Offering Older Workers Better Retirement or Health Plan Than That Available to Younger Workers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.