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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24334

Title: The Aging Workforce: Addressing its Challenges Through Development of a Dignified Lives Approach to Equality
Authors: Alon, Pnina
Advisor: Macklem, Patrick
Department: Law
Keywords: Law
Labour Law
Employment Law
Labour Policy
Discrimination Law
aging workforce
senior workers
mandatory retirement
age discrimination
theories of equality
equality sssessment
Issue Date: 15-Apr-2010
Abstract: Against the background of the global demographic shift towards an aging workforce and its impacts on the labour market and the economy in industrialized societies, this dissertation pinpoints six salient challenges for future litigation and policy-making in the area of labour and employment discrimination law. These include the global tendency towards abolishing mandatory retirement and increasing the eligibility age for pension benefits; legislative age-based distinctions; cost as a justification for age discrimination; performance appraisals of senior workers; and the duty to accommodate senior workers. At the core of each challenge lies a normative question regarding our conception of senior workers’ right to age equality, its importance and relative weight compared with other rights and interests. The aim of this dissertation is therefore to critically review the current understanding of this right and its moral and economic underpinning. Most notably, the dissertation contends that the prevailing conception of equality assessment (the Complete Lives Approach to equality), according to which equality should be assessed based on a comparison of the total share of resources obtained by individuals over a lifetime, has substantial implications for age discrimination discourse. As it uncovers the numerous difficulties with the complete lives approach, the dissertation develops an alternative: the Dignified Lives Approach to equality, according to which an individual should be treated with equal concern and respect, at any particular time and regardless of any comparison. The dissertation then articulates five essential principles founded in Dworkin’s notion of equal concern and respect: the principle of individual assessment, the principle of equal influence, the principle of sufficiency, the principle of social inclusion, and the principle of autonomy. When one of these principles is not respected at any particular time, a wrong is done, and the right to equality is violated. Next, the dissertation elucidates when and why unequal treatment of senior workers based on age does not respect each of these five principles and therefore constitutes unjust age discrimination. It demonstrates that senior workers’ right to age equality is a fundamental human right. Finally, it examines the above-mentioned challenges through the lens of the new Dignified Lives approach.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24334
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Faculty of Law - Doctoral theses

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