Date of Original Version
The question that this paper addresses is whether age discrimination laws are justified for the protection of older workers from a societal and economic point of view. An analysis of the congressional intent in enacting the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and a brief review of significant court interpretations of the ADEA provides initial insight into the legislative objectives and the unique problems that older persons face in the workforce. Both the positive and negative impacts of the ADEA on older workers and cost efficiency objectives of employers are evaluated. Despite certain of its limitations in protecting older workers and increase in costs to employers, the enactment of the ADEA has been instrumental in initiating policies that address the changing demographic of an aging workforce and prompting a transformation in human resource practices towards older workers.