Does Protecting Older Workers From Discrimination Make It Harder to Get Hired? Evidence From Disability Discrimination Laws

Res Aging. 2017 Jan;39(1):29-63. doi: 10.1177/0164027516656142.


We explore the effects of disability discrimination laws on hiring of older workers. A concern with antidiscrimination laws is that they may reduce hiring by raising the cost of terminations and-in the specific case of disability discrimination laws-raising the cost of employment because of the need to accommodate disabled workers. Moreover, disability discrimination laws can affect nondisabled older workers because they are fairly likely to develop work-related disabilities, but are generally not protected by these laws. Using state variation in disability discrimination protections, we find little or no evidence that stronger disability discrimination laws lower the hiring of nondisabled older workers. We similarly find no evidence of adverse effects of disability discrimination laws on hiring of disabled older workers.

Keywords: disability; discrimination; hiring; older workers.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ageism / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Disabled Persons / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology