The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits employers, labor organizations, and employment agencies from discriminating because of age, but it does not protect all age groups against employment discrimination. As enacted, the 1967 Act protected persons between the ages of forty and sixty-five; the amendments in April 1978 extended that protection five years to age seventy. Thus it is not illegal to discriminate against people before their fortieth or after their seventieth birthday. The Act, in its original and amended versions, contains five exceptions or "defenses" to age discrimination in employment. Only the "bona fide occupational qualification" (BFOQ), "bona fide seniority system," and "bona fide benefit play" are true defenses. Prior to the 1978 amendments, some lower federal courts bizarrely construed the BFOQ defense.
Mack A. Player,
Defense under the Age of Discrimination in Employment Act: Misinterpretation, Misdirection, and the 1978 Amendments
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