Management Essay on Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

The ADEA was mainly introduced for the purpose of protecting individuals who are forty years and above from employment discrimination based on age. The Act’s protections apply to both the existing employees within an organization and also the job applicants. Under this Act, it is against the law to discriminate against an individual because of her/his age with respect to any provision, state or job privilege, which includes hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job duties and training. The Act specifically allows employers to favor the older employees based on age (Neumark, 2003; Sargeant, 2006). The ADEA in the United States was first introduced in the year 1967. It was then followed by the 1975 Age discrimination act, which banned age prejudice in all initiatives and activities that receive federal support, which includes state or local administration units that receive federal funds. Modifications of the Act done in 1978 then extended the age range for the protected group to 40 years and above, raising the obligatory retirement age to 70 years. A significant change took place in the 1979, when the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) took over the management liability for the ADEA. This change augmented the influence of ADEA since it was followed by more assets and better opportunities (Neumark, 2003).

The ADEA is somehow opposing the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which disallows gender and race unfairness. It defines as unlawful a number of the same activities forbidden under Title VII. The prohibited acts under the ADEA include, using a person’s age as a basis for refusal to hire, that is organizations should not refuse to hire an individual on the basis of his/her age. Another prohibited act includes discharging a worker or setting other conditions of employment. The ADEA also controls how the employment institutes as well as workers unions behave. These two kinds of agents, together with the employers are barred from utilizing any advertisement that relates to employment that indicates preferences and restrictions based on age (Neumark, 2003). The ADEA allows some responsibilities for age in the labor market. In this sense, it is much different from Title VII, which specifically treats gender and race as factors that have to be assumed, giving only very minimal expectations. For instance, ADEA protects the utilization of a legitimate superiority system, providing it is not utilized to avoid the purpose of the Act. It also acknowledges that some employment limitations may arise with age, allowing the use of age as a legitimate occupational qualification, even though the lawful standard for establishment of these is extremely high (Neumark, 2003).

 The ADEA also distinguishes that the benefits cost may be quite high for the older workers and permits organizations to offer both the younger and the older employees benefits of the same costs even if the definite benefit given to the older employee is worth less. Finally, the Act recognizes that the workers’ pension plans are inextricably associated with age and superiority, and it sets up clear guidelines for the purpose of clarifying what is allowed and what is not allowed. Critiques of the ADEA agues that, it acts at reducing hiring of the old age workers. This is explained by the fact that the cost of hiring these employees is increased due to their legal rights under the ADEA. A more basic critique of ADEA is that, other than extending antidiscriminatory goals, it acts largely at providing a wind-fall to the old age employees (Neumark, 2003; Neumark, 2008).


Neumark, D. (2003). Age discrimination legislation in the united states.Contemporary Economic Policy, 21(3), 297. Retrieved from

Sargeant, M. (2006). Age discrimination in employment. Aldershot: Gower.

Neumark, D. (2008). Reassessing the age discrimination in employment act. AARP. Public Policy Institute.