Improving the Effectiveness of Human Rights Law Against Age Discrimination in Hiring
33 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 6, 2014
Age is an enumerated ground of discrimination that is analogous to disability, as age may bring diminishing mental and physical abilities. However, aging affects everyone, and there is not the same ethical imperative to accommodate the aged. The requirement for employers to "accommodate up to the point of undue hardship" does not have a clear application to aging. The unqualified protection against age discrimination in the statutes has not been backed up by enforcement. Courts and tribunals do not take age discrimination very seriously, and claimants rarely win. An examination of complaints to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal about age discrimination in hiring finds a near zero success rate. This paper suggests a compromise between the two extremes of unqualified statutory protection and very poor enforcement. The appropriate approach to age discrimination in hiring is the enforcement of fair individual evaluation of job applicants.
Keywords: aging, age discrimination, human rights law, employment law, hiring, Canada, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Equality, Human Rights Code, Ontario
JEL Classification: K31, J78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation