Date of this Version
Chapter 5 (pp. 93–105) in Disability and Aging Discrimination: Perspectives in Law and Psychology, edited by Richard L. Wiener and Steven L. Willborn, New York: Springer Science + Business Media, 2011.
In the current chapter, I will first detail the legal framework for workplace age discrimination and court case examples that have largely mirrored race and gender discrimination law. Next, I will discuss the psychological research that details the consequences of age discrimination with a particular focus on the combined effects of stereotype assimilation and notions of deservingness of respect. Last, I will suggest that until we know the causes of age discrimination, we cannot legitimately address its consequences the same way we have addressed other forms of discrimination. Specifically, I will argue that legislating against age discrimination is inherently different from laws against other forms of discrimination because of the fundamental distinctions between the discrimination targets (e.g., that most people will develop into the target group for age, but that similarly cannot occur with most other target groups). In other words, making laws that ban age discrimination is a futile attempt to prohibit the fear and misconceptions of growing old.