Age Discrimination Legislation in the United States
Legislation prohibiting age discrimination in the United States dates back to the decade of the 1960s, when along with the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act barring discrimination against women and minorities, the U.S. Congress passed the 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Many critical issues regarding the rationale for or effectiveness of age discrimination legislation have been addressed, and continue to be studied, by researchers in both economics and law, while many questions remain. These questions are likely to become increasingly important as rapidly aging workforces in the United States and other industrialized countries threaten to vastly increase the social costs of any barriers to older workers' employment. This paper provides a summary, critical review, and synthesis of what we know about age discrimination legislation. It first traces out the legislative history and the evolving case law, and discusses implementation of the law. It then moves on to review the existing research on age discrimination legislation research that addresses the rationale for the legislation, evidence on its effectiveness, and criticisms of age discrimination legislation.