Nav: Home

Age discrimination laws don't protect older women as they do older men

June 18, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Older women in the workforce should be considered collectively as a unique demographic group that includes both gender and age if they're to receive adequate protection against workplace discrimination, according to a new paper published by a University at Buffalo economist.

"Age discrimination laws may be ineffective or less effective for older women," says Joanne Song McLaughlin, an assistant professor of economics in UB's College of Arts and Sciences. "These women are falling through the cracks." The effectiveness of these laws is critical, not only in protecting against the inherent injustice of employment discrimination, but in ensuring the viability of Social Security.

"We expect to see a continued decline in the ratio of workers to retired individuals in the near future as the population ages," says McLaughlin. "This increase in dependency ratio poses a serious Social Security solvency issue. Employing older women who want to continue working is one way to influence that ratio."

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) are part of a collection of state and federal laws intended to provide equal employment opportunities. ADEA prohibits age discrimination while Title VII prohibits gender discrimination.

The two laws, however, function independent of one another and do not work well in concert, because each is a separate statute. The courts subsequently do not usually allow cases that combine them. It's either age or gender in cases of discrimination, which fails ultimately to guard against the circumstances faced by older women: intersectional discrimination, the point where multiple demographic characteristics are responsible for limiting opportunities.

McLaughlin says previous research suggests the laws seem to protect older male workers. She also cites studies showing differential treatment against older women and the role of appearance.

"These theories could explain why employers may demonstrate adverse treatment against older women that may be different from older men," she says.

And while the existing literature has examples of research looking exclusively at either age or gender discrimination, McLaughlin's paper, published in the peer-reviewed journal Labour, is the first to examine the gender difference in the effect of age discrimination laws on job outcomes for older workers.

To test her hypothesis on the potential ineffectiveness of the antidiscrimination statutes, the current paper relies on two identification strategies examining the laws' effects on older men and older women at both the state and federal level.

"The evidence indicated that both state age discrimination laws and the ADEA improved the labor market outcomes for older men, but had a far less favorable effect on older women," says McLaughlin. "In some cases, I found that age discrimination laws did not improve the labor market outcomes for older women at all."

The paper's robust findings support creating a new protective class of workers for older women.

"I conducted numerous tests looking for alternative explanations about the gender difference in age discrimination laws," says McLaughlin. "All my results consistently find that age discrimination laws were far less effective for older women compared with older men.

"Older women's intersectional discrimination must be recognized as a separate cause of action," she says.
-end-


University at Buffalo

Related Discrimination Articles:

Muslims, atheists more likely to face religious discrimination in US
A new study led by the University of Washington found that Muslims and atheists in the United States are more likely than those of Christian faiths to experience religious discrimination.
Racial discrimination linked to suicide
New research findings from the University of Houston indicate that racial discrimination is so painful that it is linked to the ability to die by suicide, a presumed prerequisite for being able to take one's own life, and certain mental health tools - like reframing an incident - can help.
Perceived "whiteness" of Middle Eastern Americans correlates with discrimination
The perceived ''whiteness'' of Americans of Middle Eastern and North African descent is indirectly tied to discrimination against them, and may feed a ''negative cycle'' in which public awareness of discrimination leads to more discrimination, according to a Rutgers-led study.
When kids face discrimination, their mothers' health may suffer
A new study is the first to suggest that children's exposure to discrimination can harm their mothers' health.
Racial discrimination in mortgage market persistent over last four decades
A new Northwestern University analysis finds that racial disparities in the mortgage market suggest that discrimination in loan denial and cost has not declined much over the previous 30 to 40 years, yet discrimination in the housing market has decreased during the same time period.
Successful alcohol, drug recovery hampered by discrimination
Even after resolving a problem with alcohol and other drugs, adults in recovery report experiencing both minor or 'micro' forms of discrimination such as personal slights, and major or 'macro' discrimination such as violation of their personal rights.
Sexual minorities continue to face discrimination, despite increasing support
Despite increasing support for the rights of people in the LGBTQ+ community, discrimination remains a critical and ongoing issue for this population, according to researchers.
Fathers may protect their LGB kids from health effects of discrimination
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals who report being discriminated against but who feel close to their fathers have lower levels of C-reactive protein -- a measure of inflammation and cardiovascular risk -- than those without support from their fathers, finds a new study from researchers at NYU College of Global Public Health.
Uncovering the roots of discrimination toward immigrants
Immigrants are often encouraged to assimilate into their new culture as a way of reducing conflict with their host societies, to appear less threatening to the culture and national identity of the host population.
Using artificial intelligence to detect discrimination
A new artificial intelligence (AI) tool for detecting unfair discrimination -- such as on the basis of race or gender -- has been created by researchers at Penn State and Columbia University.
More Discrimination News and Discrimination Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.