Age Discrimination

Students imagine that the ACLU is launching a new campaign that specifically tackles different forms of age discrimination and they are responsible for deciding on the areas of focus.

Task Force: Age Discrimination


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has asked you to be part of its newly assembled team that will tackle issues related to age discrimination. You must think about the different types of age discrimination that occurs against different age groups and think about how you could push for changes to existing laws. 

Why Are We Doing This?

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines discrimination as “the unfair or prejudicial treatment of people and groups based on characteristics such as race, gender, age or sexual orientation.” Age discrimination can take a lot of different forms, such as: lack of access to certain jobs or pay inequality, lack of representation in government/not being able to vote, not being trusted with decisions about their health, body, and living situation, limited mobility because of driving laws and poor public transportation, censorship, among many other issues. 


  1. Research current laws that address age discrimination. Does anything surprise you? What is ageism? Also, research a bit about what the ACLU does and take note of what might be relevant. 
  2. Now, think about how discrimination might affect people of different age groups? 
    1. What does discrimination against the elderly look like? 
    2. What does discrimination against young people look like? 
    3. How does age discrimination affect different areas of life? Think about:
      1. Representation in government/politics
      2. Access to different opportunities 
      3. Stereotypes
      4. Decision-making power 
      5. Wages and labor laws 
    4. What issues do you think might be most important/relevant to people of different age groups? 
  3. Now, design your plan. 
    1. Where will you focus your advocacy efforts? What issues will you prioritize? 
    2. What kinds of discrimination cases will you look for? Can you find a real example of a case of age discrimination? What legal precedents could you use to argue the case? 
    3. What will your main goals be? 
    4. How will you get the word out about your initiative? 
  4. Think through the possible objections to your plan. 
  5. Share with the group and see if you can convince them that your plan will help address age discrimination. 

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • You do not have to come up with an exhaustive plan. It’s better to come up with a few ideas that you feel confident with and spend time thinking through possible objections to them. 
  • You don’t have to worry about answering all possible objections, but you should have some defense of why you think your idea would work. 
  • Your suggestions should be things that could realistically be implemented.