Federal age-bias protections do not extend to outside job applicants but only to employees, a healthcare company told the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday in rebutting claims from a 58-year-old lawyer who was not hired for an in-house legal post.

The lawyer, Dale Kleber, who applied for a senior counsel position at San Diego-based CareFusion Corp., filed claims under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. A federal appeals panel in Chicago ruled in his favor last year, but a subsequent order by the full appeals court overturned the decision. Kleber’s lawyers filed a petition in the Supreme Court in May.