Older Workers and Human Rights: National and International Policies and Realities

  • Denise Gosselin Caldera


As the world’s population continues to age, our social, economic and political policies fall short of keep up with the changing demographics. Older men and women surviving to age 60 can expect to live 18 and 21 years longer respectively. The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), a plan passed by the General Assembly in 2002, delineates recommendations for Members States of the United Nations to follow in their efforts to mainstream the needs of older persons in their development agenda. The central subject of this chapter is age discrimination in the workforce written in the context of MIPAA, notably Priority Area (1) older persons and development; and (2) ensuring enabling and supportive environments. Age discrimination continues to be a challenge for older persons; stereotypical narratives of older workers, bias against an older person’s capability, arguments that pit younger workers against older workers and abusive and subliminal practices by employers discourage older workers. Nevertheless, governments, employers and older persons themselves are recognizing the social and economic impact age discrimination is having in the workplace. Cognizant of the economic implications, governments in Canada and the United States have enacted legislation that would enforce existing policies or develop new laws (for further discussion on this, see  Chap. 9). Some employers acknowledging the skills and talent that is lost when an employee retires, are rehiring their older staff members to mentor the younger workers. And older persons themselves informed of their rights are fighting back and working with young people to ensure that development policies are inclusive to all groups (Gray Panthers Action Network 2012).


United Nations Priority Area Labor Force Participation Rate Ageist Attitude Define Benefit Plan 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Network for the Prevention of Elder AbuseNew YorkUSA

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