General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline, 540 U.S. 581, 9 (2004)

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Cite as: 540 U. S. 581 (2004)

Opinion of the Court

ically addressed higher pension and benefit costs as heavier drags on hiring workers the older they got. See, e. g., House Hearings 45 (statement of Norman Sprague) (Apart from stereotypes, "labor market conditions, seniority and promotion-from-within policies, job training costs, pension and insurance costs, and mandatory retirement policies often make employers reluctant to hire older workers"). The record thus reflects the common facts that an individual's chances to find and keep a job get worse over time; as between any two people, the younger is in the stronger position, the older more apt to be tagged with demeaning stereotype. Not surprisingly, from the voluminous records of the hearings, we have found (and Cline has cited) nothing suggesting that any workers were registering complaints about discrimination in favor of their seniors.

Nor is there any such suggestion in the introductory provisions of the ADEA, 81 Stat. 602, which begins with statements of purpose and findings that mirror the Wirtz Report and the committee transcripts. Id., 2. The findings stress the impediments suffered by "older workers . . . in their efforts to retain . . . and especially to regain employment," id., 2(a)(1); "the [burdens] of arbitrary age limits regardless of potential for job performance," id., 2(a)(2); the costs of "otherwise desirable practices [that] may work to the disadvantage of older persons," ibid.; and "the incidence of unemployment, especially long-term unemployment[, which] is, relative to the younger ages, high among older workers," id., 2(a)(3). The statutory objects were "to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; [and]

(" 'Unfavorable beliefs and generalizations about older persons have grown up and have been translated into restrictive policies and practices in hiring new employees which bar older jobseekers from employment principally because of age' " (quoting earlier report of Senate Special Committee on Aging)).


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