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

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ICHRAs

Individual Coverage HRA. What is it? What are the benefits and drawbacks? What companies are a good fit for ICHRAs versus group health plans? Kevin talks with Matt Hollister, President and CEO of Business...

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U.S. Supreme Court Settles Issue of Title VII Protections for LGBTQ+ Employees

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The 2020 HR Recap

We’ve made it to the recap episode! The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. Join Kevin and Elaine (Lainey) Luthens as they discuss it all including FFCRA legislation, OSHA, what they...

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The COVID-19 Vaccine Part 1

Experience

Thompson Coe Saves Client $100Ks in Damages After 3-Day Trial

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Supreme Court Reaffirms and Clarifies Ministerial Exception to Employment Discrimination Laws Under First Amendment’s Religion Clause

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The Importance of Strategic Transitions

Transitions versus change, what’s the destination and why is this important for a business?  Kevin talks with Gwen Gierke from Gierke Jungbauer on how they help to manage transitions. Transition happens in three stages: the ending, the neutral zone, and...

Experience

COVID-19 Response Team - Resources and Updates

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The Tale of OCS and the Coronavirus

How has Opportunity Community Services survived during this pandemic and Phase 1? Rose Kukwa of Opportunity Community Services and Dennis Van Norman with Van Norman & Associates share their experience.  Rose and her team...

News Item

Five Austin Partners Voted As "Top Austin Attorneys 2020"

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