ADEA and School Districts

By Edwin C. Darden

Wrinkles are called laugh lines. Creases around the eyes are labeled crows’ feet. Varicose veins are known euphemistically as “spider veins.”

We go to great lengths to avoid even the impression of being old, perhaps with good reason. In a society that prefers youth, a 42-year-old federal law helps ensure that men and women who are middle-aged and beyond get a fair shake on the job. Public schools, as employers, are not immune to this cultural conundrum.

For school districts, the issues surrounding older employees and applicants will become an even bigger factor. As the lagging economy ejects veteran workers back into the job market, and as current baby boom staff reach the upper ages, boards and superintendents must be careful to avoid any hint of age discrimination. Individuals will not hesitate to sue if they believe their date of birth has been used against them in hiring, promotion, or benefits. 

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