Intersecting age and gender in workplace discrimination complaints

Pnina Alon-shenker, Therese MacDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Older female workers experience significant vulnerability in the labor market. Recent studies show that their experience is often shaped by the distinct impact of intersectional age and gender discrimination. Given this evidence, and the fact that the legal protections against age discrimination are often weaker compared to other grounds, framing age discrimination complaints in intersection with gender may be strategically more effective in pursuing a claim. This article explores the potential for intersectionality analysis in Canada (Ontario) and Australia through a case law analysis of workplace age discrimination complaints in these two jurisdictions. It examines whether complainants and adjudicators conceptualize ageism as potentially gendered, and whether adjudicators account for the distinct impact of ageism and sexism in their legal analysis and in awarding remedies. The analysis highlights the limitations of the current grounds-based approach to anti-discrimination law and explores ways to reduce the impact of siloed categories, so as to better capture the lived experiences of older women in the labor market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-562
Number of pages42
JournalComparative Labor Law and Policy Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • gender
  • age discrimination
  • workplace complaints


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