Older women in North Carolina may be less protected in the workplace by age discrimination laws compared to men. This was the finding of an economist at the University of Buffalo who published a paper in the journal “Labour” about how differences in sex affect the usefulness of age discrimination laws.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects against discrimination on the basis of gender. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects against discrimination for employees who are 40 and older. The two laws do not work together, however, so an older woman suing for age discrimination has to choose between one or the other.
Earlier research has shown that men tend to be protected by age discrimination laws. Furthermore, age and appearance are often factors in the employment of older women. Other studies have examined just age or just gender discrimination. This study, the first of its kind to do so, looked at both, using age discrimination laws for the state of New York as well as federal laws. It found that both the ADEA and state laws tended to protect men from age discrimination and offered less protection for women. In fact, in some cases, women got no protection at all from the laws. The economist said the two forms of discrimination should be combined for full recognition.
Age-related workplace discrimination may take the form of being let go from work or not hired for a position in favor of younger employees. However, age, gender and other types of discrimination or harassment may also occur when a person is subjected to hostile comments, not promoted or treated differently. Discrimination and harassment can be difficult to prove. Therefore, someone who is dealing with either at work may want to consult with an attorney about their rights and how to proceed.