States provide additional protection against age discrimination in their constitutions and statutes. While some states, such as Delaware in the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act, model their protections closely upon the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, others, including Florida, have enacted statutes that prohibit age discrimination generally and do not limit coverage to those 40 and above. Still other states, such as Iowa and Oregon, explicitly exceed Age Discrimination in Employment Act coverage by protecting all persons 18 years of age and older from differential treatment based on age.
Some plaintiffs base their challenges to alleged age discrimination primarily upon state, rather than federal, provisions. For example, in 1978 the Supreme Court of Utah reviewed the rejection of a 51-year-old applicant for admission into a graduate educational psychology program at the University of Utah. The plaintiff’s admission materials exceeded the department’s normal requirements in all areas, and the department and admission committee rejected her solely based upon her age. The court, while remanding the case to give the state university an opportunity to show a rational basis between the admission policy and legitimate state purposes, found that denying admission solely on the basis of age violated equal protection under both the state and federal constitutions.