Is Baba Maleta Syndrome A Disability?

I hope you don’t know anyone suffering from “Baba Maleta” Syndrome.  It’s not pretty.

Homeless, Man, Color, Poverty, Male

But is it a disability?

Answer:  It sure is disabling to those suffering from it, and  millions are afflicted, but it is not covered under the ADA.

How can this be?

Ok, enough with the kidding around.  According to a Manila news source, “Baba Maleta syndrome,” also known as “drop the luggage” syndrome, is slang in the Philippines for Overseas Filipino Workers (“OFWs”) who have worked abroad, but upon returning home “leave again because their age becomes a barrier to local employment.” (This, according to The Blas F. Ople Policy Center).

Millions of OFW’s work abroad in any one year, and yet because there is no age discrimination statute in the Philippines they can’t find a job because — ready for this – “they are already over 30-35 years old.”


“Senate Bill 29 or the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which remains pending in Congress, aims to stop existing practice of companies favoring younger applicants or set preferred age limits for specific jobs.”

The Ople Center said that “If there is a law that prevents age discrimination in local workplaces, our overseas workers will feel encouraged returning knowing that they would have a fair chance at landing a job. … returning OFWs who are already considered locally as ‘over-aged’ [double Yikes!!] are left with no choice but to just leave for overseas jobs anew.”

Over-aged at 30?  Drop the luggage and get thyself to a gym pronto, you thirty-year old geezers!



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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]