International Comparison of Age Discrimination Laws Academic Article uri icon


  • European age discrimination legislation is discussed in the context of the US Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and related state laws. US law was originally introduced to protect productive older workers from age stereotypes, but more recently preventing age discrimination has become important as a means of keeping costs down on entitlement programs as the population ages. Changes in enforcement, penalties, exemptions, length of time to file, and burden of proof have changed the effects of the laws over time. The ADEA has had both positive effects on currently employed older workers and negative effects on the hiring of older workers. Enforcement and publicity are offered as possible explanations for the strength of these positive and negative effects. Age discrimination legislation in Europe, indicated in the Framework Directive 2000/78, is driven by economic and political considerations. European legislation calls for less enforcement and more exemptions than the corresponding US cases which could lead to smaller effects on employment. However, pensions, disability, unemployment, and social security potentially have a stronger effect on social norms for retirement age than does anti-discrimination legislation.

published proceedings

  • Res Aging

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Lahey, J. N.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Lahey, Joanna N

publication date

  • August 2010