University of Southern California

The Cost of Older Workers: How the ADEA Has Been Interpreted to Allow Employers to Fire Older Employees Based on Cost Concerns

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Article by Lee Franck
From Volume 76, Number 6 (September, 2003)

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") was enacted to promote the ability of older workers to compete in today's marketplace. It recognized a disturbing change in the way that companies were treating older workers. Historically, older workers were regarded as a valuable commodity because of their skill and experience. The advance of the modern age brought about a shift in ideologies in corporate America. Older workers came to be considered a liability in the fast-paced business world. Congress drafted the ADEA to eliminate unfounded stereotypes of older workers as less productive and more expensive to employ. It gave statutory protection against discrimination to anyone over forty years of age.

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