The Integrity News
Vol. XII No. 15
April 25, 2003
"objective risk management services"
April 25, 2003
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court said
that it would decide during its October
term, whether a Federal law barring age
bias in the workplace allows for reverse
discrimination lawsuits by employees in
their 40s who claim that older workers
are treated better. The issue has produced
conflicting appeals court rulings.
The "Age Discrimination in Employment
Act of 1967 (ADEA)", prohibits employers
from discriminating on the basis of age.
An employee is protected from discrimination
based on age if he or she is over age 40.
Specifically, ADEA Section 631(a) says that
"The prohibitions in this chapter shall be
limited to individuals who are at least 40
years of age". The ADEA also contains
explicit guidelines for benefit, pension, and
A company had an agreement in force until mid-1997
that provided full health benefits to all employees who
retired with 30 years of seniority. The company and
their union then negotiated a new collective bargaining
agreement which offered retiree health benefits only
to those at least 50 years old on July 1, 1997.
Nearly 200 present and former employees who are in
their 40s sued, saying that the limitation amounted to
age discrimination. This type case has been called
"an important and recurring one" because there have
been multiple cases of this type.
After a Federal judge dismissed the lawsuit on the
grounds that the law did not cover reverse discrimination,
the appeals court reinstated the lawsuit.
The appeals court noted that the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which was established
by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, had issued
a regulation that said the ADEA does in fact cover
reverse discrimination against those 40 or older.
Business groups say that the appeals court ruling has
created "significant uncertainty in an area of substantial
importance to employers", and jeopardizes employer-
sponsored benefit plans because the ruling would
subject employers to significantly more discrimination
claims concerning personnel actions, and therefore
would have a "burdensome impact".
CLICK HERE for an excellent two page overview of
employment discrimination. Or, call The Integrity
Center at (972) 484-6140
and we will fax the two pages to you..