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Constructing Age through Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications: De Jure Discrimination's Last Stand?

Author: HINDY LAUER SCHACHTER
Published in PAQ, Vol. 37 No. 3

This article examines how the design of current age discrimination policy, particularly employer use of the bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) defense, affects the social construction of age in America. Using a series of federal cases involving truck drivers, airline pilots, and police officers, I argue that the use of the BFOQ defense in Age Discrimination in Employment Act cases originates in and ratifies inter-subjective stereotypes. Managerial and governance implications emanate from the way policy design associates aging with degeneration and incapacity.

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