Is Age Discrimination Really Age Discrimination?: The ADEA’s Unnatural Solution
Samuel Issacharoff, Erica Worth Harris
Through a series of reforms over the last two decades, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) has become the most far-reaching of the antidiscrimination statutes. In this Article, Professor Issacharoff and Ms. Harris provide a critical reexamination of both the ADEA itself and, more generally, the use of antidiscrimination law to address the problem of aging in employment. The authors distinguish the disadvantages that older employees face from classic claims of employment discrimination, noting the inapplicability of the antidiscrimination model underlying the ADEA to some of the problems associated with aging in employment. The authors then turn to the development of the ADEA and its amendments, examining the role of regulatory capture in the expansion of ADEA protections. They conclude that the broad use of antidiscrimination law to address the problem of aging in employment without accounting for the differences between classic claims of discrimination and the particular problems faced by older employees has resulted in a dramatic and unjustified shift in wealth toward older Americans. Accordingly, they propose a series of reforms designed to address both the specific problems faced by older employees and the reallocation of wealth imposed by recent ADEA amendments.