A UAW collective bargaining agreement eliminated the employer?s obligation to provide health benefits to subsequently retired employees, except? to? then-current? employees? age? 50? and older. ?Employees age 40-49 alleged violations of the? ADEA.? The ?ADEA? prohibits ?discrimina[tion]? because? of? [an]? individual?s age, ? 29 U.S.C. ?623(a)(1), and protects all employees age 40 or over.?? Reversing the Sixth Circuit, the Supreme Court held that the ADEA?s text, structure, purpose, history, and relationship to other statutes established that the ADEA does not protect employees over age 40 from discrimination that favors even older employees. Summing up Congressional intent behind the ADEA, the Court pithily remarked: ??The enemy of 40 is 30, not 50.?? ?The Court found that Congress?s failure to act in response to 30 years of judicial interpretation consistent with this approach supported the Court?s conclusion and held that the EEOC?s contrary interpretation deserved no deference because it was clearly wrong.?? ?Thomas?s? dissent? comments? that? the same factors should have caused the Supreme Court to hold that Title VII does not protect Caucasians. ?Title VII prohibits the discharge of ?any individual? because of ?such individual?s race? and its legislative history, social context, and ?intent ?was ?clearly? to ?protect ?the ?rights ?of racial minorities and there was an absence of complaints of reverse discrimination supporting the legislation. ?General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline, No. 02-1080 (Souter majority opinion joined by Rehnquist, Stevens, O?Connor, Ginsburg, Breyer; Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy dissenting).
ADEA Does Not Prohibit Favoring Older Workers
Mar 12, 2004