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Access_open What Makes Age Discrimination Special? A Philosophical Look at the ECJ Case Law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2014
Keywords age discrimination, intergenerational justice, complete-life view, statistical discrimination, anti-discrimination law
Authors Axel Gosseries
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper provides an account of what makes age discrimination special, going through a set of possible justifications. In the end, it turns out that a full understanding of the specialness of age-based differential treatment requires that we consider together the ‘reliable proxy,’ the ‘complete-life neutrality,’ the ‘sequence efficiency’ and the ‘affirmative egalitarian’ accounts. Depending on the specific age criteria, all four accounts may apply or only some of them. This is the first key message of this paper. The second message of the paper has to do with the age group/birth cohort distinction. All measures that have a differential impact on different cohorts also tend to have a differential impact on various age groups during the transition. The paper points at the practical implications of anti-age-discrimination law for differential treatment between birth cohorts. The whole argument is confronted all along with ECJ cases.


Axel Gosseries
Axel Gosseries is a permanent research fellow at the Belgian FRS-FNRS and a Professor at the University of Louvain (UCL, Belgium) where he is based at the Hoover Chair in Economic and Social Ethics.
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