The EEOC’s Predicament with Respect to the ADEA’s 50th Anniversary

EEOC50ADEAPity the poor EEOC.

The EEOC is in the painful position of having to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which the EEOC has failed to aggressively enforce and arguably violates itself. The U.S. Congress passed the ADEA on December 15, 1967.

This important anniversary of the ADEA also shines a spotlight on how the EEOC has  failed millions of older Americans who became victims of age discrimination in employment during and since the Great Recession.

Yet, the EEOC must go through the motions. That is the least that is expected of the agency that is responsible for enforcing the ADEA.

So the EEOC has adopted a handsome marketing logo, Ability Matters – Not Age, and the agency is purporting on Twitter to “count down” to the big day on Friday .

The modern history of the ADEA shows that a law does not yield justice if it is not enforced.

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Dear EEOC Commissioners …

 

EEOCThe following comments are made in response to the EEOC’s invitation for public comment regarding the EEOC’s discussion of the 50th Anniversary  of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) at its June 14, 2017 meeting.

I am a licensed attorney and the author of Betrayed: The Legalization of Age Discrimination in the Workplace (2014) and Overcoming Age Discrimination in the Workplace (2016).  I am the editor of a syndicated employment law blog, When the Abuser Goes to Work and I edit a blog called Age Discrimination in Employment.  I have been quoted in many national publications about the problem of age discrimination in employment in the United States.

I am surprised that it was not mentioned at your meeting that a major reason for the on-going epidemic of age discrimination in employment in America is the legal inequality of older workers.

I urge the EEOC to advocate for repeal of the ADEA. Age should be added as a protected class to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, color and national origin.  This would insure uniform treatment under the law of all forms of harmful employment discrimination, including age discrimination. It is not a radical move.

Age discrimination in employment currently is treated by the EEOC and federal courts as a pesky, lesser and secondary offense. This, despite an overwhelming research showing that age discrimination, like other forms of discrimination, is based upon false stereotypes, irrational fears and deep-seated animus.  Moreover, age discrimination, like other forms of illegal discrimination, has a devastating impact on both individuals and the American economy.

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