Improving the Effectiveness of Human Rights Law Against Age Discrimination in Hiring

33 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014  

Peter S. Spiro

University of Toronto - Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, School of Public Policy and Governance

Date Written: November 6, 2014

Abstract

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

Spiro, Peter S., Improving the Effectiveness of Human Rights Law Against Age Discrimination in Hiring (November 6, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2520167 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2520167

Peter Spiro (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, School of Public Policy and Governance ( email )

720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 218
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2T9
Canada

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