Cover image for Age discrimination by employers
Age discrimination by employers
Segrave, Kerry, 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [2001]

Physical Description:
214 pages ; 23 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of Contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD6280 .S44 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In 1907, the editor of The New York Times wrote, "Employers, naturally, look to the young. A man or woman of advanced years is too apt to be given to old-fashioned ways of doing things, and open to suspicion of having the unforgivable fault, in modern business, of slowness." Age discrimination has existed throughout the 20th century, sometimes in the public eye and sometimes not. This book examines the problem as it relates to the employment sector in the United States throughout the century: how the issue has been treated by the media, what is the extent of age bias, how older workers were viewed, the reasons and rationales presented by business enterprises for their refusal to hire older workers, and the responses of governments to the problem. Some foreign data are used for comparison purposes; age bias exists in all industrial societies, regardless of the type of government a country provides for itself.

Author Notes

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, ticket-scalping, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking and shoplifting. He lives in British Columbia.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

For most of the 20th century, workers in the US lacked legal protection against employment discrimination. This book is a readable and informative social history of changing views about older employees. Segrave identifies the 1890s as the beginning of explicit discrimination against older job applicants, usually through newspaper advertisements seeking "young" workers. By the 1920s, age discrimination was so widespread that cooperative societies sprang up to publicize the plight of workers over age 40. The problem was further exacerbated in the 1930s with record unemployment levels during the Depression. The author reports that at the end of WW II, tight labor markets induced employers to hire older workers, and several states enacted legislation specifically prohibiting age bias. Finally, in 1967, Congress passed the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and older workers now enjoy the same civil rights as ethnic minorities and women. According to data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charges of age discrimination made up 20 percent of the total charges filed in 2000. Obviously, the problem of unfair treatment persists in the American workplace, and this book is a lucid explanation of evolving attitudes about age and labor. Accessible to a wide readership, it is recommended for public, academic, and professional library collections. R. L. Hogler Colorado State University