Falling between the Cracks: Discrimination Laws and Older Women

Joanne Song, University of California, Irvine

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects women from sex discrimination while the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination against workers over age forty. Since an older woman may be subject to discrimination based on being both a woman and old, legal scholars argue the two laws must be used jointly to protect the older-woman minority group. However, the courts do not always use them together in practice and do not necessarily give older women protection based on simultaneous membership in two protected classes. This study estimates the differential effect of age discrimination on labor market outcomes between women and men to test the implication of the legal argument that the two laws should be used jointly to protect older women. The findings supports the legal argument by empirically showing age discrimination laws do far less to improve labor market outcomes for older women than for older men.

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Presented in Session 99: Recent Issues in Educational and Labor Force Discrimination