New Times column — age-bias law

My new column in the Times Online is up. First paragraph:

So now Britain has its own law banning employers from considering workers’ age in most job situations. If your experience follows ours in America, the results will include a range of unintended consequences, some of which will worsen the plight of the workers the law was meant to help.

(Walter Olson, “If the US experience is anything to go by, be sceptical of Britain’s new age-bias laws”, Times Online (U.K.), Oct. 18, newer link and reprint). I treated this subject at length in my 1997 book The Excuse Factory and did a USA Today opinion piece back then exploring some of the ways the law backfires against older workers. The new British law has been getting some attention in the States, in part because of the news item about the company that has banned office birthday cards as potentially ageist (Oct. 13) and the one about the recruiting agency (Oct. 17) that is barring use of any of a list of words including vibrant, dynamic, gravitas, ambitious, and hungry to describe potential employees.

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