Elder Law
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Elder Law

Evolving European Perspectives

Edited by Ann Numhauser-Henning

The ageing population poses a huge challenge to law and society, carrying important structural and institutional implications. This book portrays elder law as an emerging research discipline in the European setting in terms of both conceptual and theoretical perspectives as well as elements of the law.
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Chapter 4: The elder law individual versus societal dichotomy – a European perspective

Ann Numhauser-Henning


Why is compulsory retirement still acceptable in EU law – despite existing age discrimination regulation – when this is not the case in the US? In this chapter this difference is discussed in the light of the case law of the CJEU and the ‘double bind’ characterizing the EU age discrimination ban as contrasted with the double-helix construction in US discrimination law. The difference is then related to general welfare developments in the EU and the individual versus societal dichotomy at the heart of elder law. A main line of argument is that upholding the ban on age discrimination – and thus autonomy at the individual level – may well lead to more or less extreme vulnerability as the outcome for older workers. Age discrimination, double bind, double helix, US, European Union, welfare state

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