Publications

Employers May Discriminate in Favor of Their Most Senior Employees

May 3, 2004

The US Supreme Court recently addressed to what extent an employer may discriminate against its younger workers in favor of its most senior employees. At issue was a collective bargaining agreement which eliminated health care benefits for subsequent retirees who were not, at the time of the contract's execution date, at least 50 years of age. Several employees sued the company claiming that the contract discriminated against workers between 40 and 49 years of age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees 40 years of age or older regarding their terms or conditions of employment.

The Court, in a sweeping opinion, sided with the employer, holding that the ADEA does not protect younger workers from employment decisions that favor older workers. The Court based its decision on an exhaustive analysis of the ADEA's legislative history, concluding that nothing in the Act is intended to stop an employer from favoring an older employee over a younger one, even if both employees are in the 40 protected age group.

This decision has positive, sweeping ramifications for employers regarding separation packages and retirement plans because employers are now free to provided greater benefits to older workers in order to entice them to accept early retirement offers. Additionally, employers faced with the option of reducing retiree health care costs may provide more expansive benefits for their most senior workers than they do for their younger ones.

Firm Highlights

Experience

Fifth Circuit Decision Secured In Civil Rights Case

Dallas partner John Ross, obtained a favorable decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of his clients, El Paso Hospital District and two of its nurses, on civil rights, constitutional, and...

Publication

Interviewing Tips and Tricks

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ADA Accommodations that Come with Fur and a Tail

Boa constrictors in the workplace?  Do we have to accommodate all employee pets?  Join HR attorneys Kevin Mosher and Laura Alaniz for a fun and informative discussion on pets in the workplace.   

Publication

Paid Sick and Safe Leave

When you think of Texas do you think of mandatory paid time off laws? How would Paid Sick and Safe Leave affect your HR policies? Join Kevin and Erin McNamara as they discuss this...

Publication

Flextime in the Workplace

Is flextime right for your office? How do you keep confidential information confidential when employees are working off site? Listen as Kevin Mosher talks to Bill Kelly, HR Director of Vinco, Inc., about piloting...

Publication

Is Sexual Orientation Discrimination Unlawful? Supreme Court to Decide!

Listen to HR attorneys Kevin Mosher and Stephanie Rojo discuss sexual orientation discrimination and transgender discrimination issues and the exciting cases before the Supreme Court.  Will SCOTUS find that federal law protects employees and...

Event

ABCs of Employment

Event

Reviewing and Previewing: 2019 & 2020 HR Laws and Hot Topics

It seems every year more and more critical “stuff” happens to keep HR professionals busy and always learning.  2019 was no exception and 2020 won’t be either.  In this 1-hour webinar we will review...

Publication

The Trifecta: ADA, FMLA, and Workers Compensation

A look into ADA, FMLA, and Workers Compensation from both the HR and Risk Management side. How do they work together? Listen as Kevin and Senior Risk Manager of Patterson Companies, Maggie Hobbs discuss...