Age Discrimination - Law and Higher Education
American society is aging as health care improves, the baby boom generation approaches retirement age, and the age for eligibility to draw full Social Security benefits rises. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age of the population rose five years from 1980 to 2005. The percentage of the U.S. population in the age range of 40 to 74 increased from 31.6% in 1980 to 38.6% in 2005. With the graying of the American population and the resulting greater awareness of the pervasiveness of age discrimination in society have come concerted efforts on the part of federal and state government to eliminate age discrimination in employment and higher education.
Older Americans have many avenues through which to contest age-based discrimination legally. At the federal level, both constitutional and statutory provisions provide legal protections for older students and workers who think they have been discriminated against because of their age. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution affords a general constitutional remedy for plaintiffs of all ages who raise claims of age-based discrimination. Further, Congress, through the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967), which affords protection for workers who are 40 years of age or older, and the Age Discrimination Act (1975), which covers educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance, has provided more specific defenses for students and workers. At the same time, many states have enacted constitutional and statutory measures offering protection against age bias, sometimes even exceeding the federal provisions. This entry reviews these options and educationrelated cases dealing with age discrimination in education and employment.
- Del. Code Ann. tit. 19, § 710 (2008).
- Fla. Stat. § 112.043–.044 (2008).
- Iowa Code §§ 161-8.15, 216.6 (2008).
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.030 (2008).
- Age Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 6101 et seq. (1975).
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq. (1967).
- Civil Rights Restoration Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 (1987).
- Massachusetts Board of Retirement v. Murgia, 427 U.S. 307 (1976).
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, 29 U.S.C. §§ 794 et seq.
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d.
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681.