Sex Plus Age Discrimination: Protecting Older Women Workers

35 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2007 Last revised: 22 Feb 2009

See all articles by Nicole B. Porter

Nicole B. Porter

University of Toledo College of Law


Scholars have been discussing intersectionality claims for years, yet these claims have not firmly made their way into the courts. While courts do recognize some "sex plus" claims; only one district court has allowed a "sex plus age" discrimination claim. This Article argues that older women face a unique type of discrimination based on the intersection of their sex and age. This discrimination cannot be defined by either sex or age alone. Because of both the importance our society places on youth and beauty for women, and the historical roles of men and women in the home and the workplace, older women have been disproportionately discriminated against in employment. Accordingly, I argue in this paper that courts should recognize "sex plus age" discrimination claims, where the plaintiff's comparators would not be limited to either men or younger persons but instead would encompass anyone that is not an older woman. In this way, older women will finally be able to combat the type of discrimination that is unique to them.

Keywords: employment, discrimination, age, sex-plus, ageism, sexism

Suggested Citation

Porter, Nicole B., Sex Plus Age Discrimination: Protecting Older Women Workers. Denver University Law Review, Vol. 81, p. 79, 2003, Available at SSRN:

Nicole B. Porter (Contact Author)

University of Toledo College of Law ( email )

2801 W. Bancroft Street
Toledo, OH 43606
United States
419-530-4785 (Phone)

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