Despite Protections, Age Discrimination Remains a Serious Issue in the Workforce

There are many negative stereotypes out there about older workers. Some people assume that an older person is automatically not tech-savvy or that they cannot pick up on new concepts quickly. The truth is that older workers often come with a lifetime of experience that can be extremely valuable for a company. If that is not enough reason for a company to work with them, then the fact that age discrimination is against the law should convince them.

The Changes Began in 1967

Prior to President Johnson signing the ADEA in 1967, many job ads would specifically say that no one over the age of 45 need apply. The Department of Labor found that this made half of all job applicants ineligible to apply for these jobs and that this contributed to the very high unemployment rates at the time. in fact, they found that 40% of long-term unemployed people were 45 years or older.

Some states passed workplace age discrimination laws in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but the country was badly in need of federal law to protect all workers. Fifty years after the ADEA went into law, employers who violate it are still fined and given other penalties. In fact, in just the year of 2015, there were more than 21,000 age discrimination claims that led to nearly $100 in benefits.

Age Discrimination Remains an Issue

Today’s American has a longer life expectancy and cannot always count on their Social Security benefits or retirement benefits to get them through, compared to the average American 50 years ago. As a result, adults are staying in the workplace later than others have in the past. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2020, the median age of the American worker will be 43.

When the ADEA was first passed, people calling age discrimination attorneys were generally in their 40s or 50s. Today they are in their 60s, 70s, or even 80s being harassed and bullied at work, or being discriminated against in the hiring process. Studies show that it takes an unemployed worker aged 55 or older more than ten weeks longer to secure employment than a younger applicant.

Further, a 2013 study by the AARP found that about 67% of workers between the ages of 45 and 74 reported that they had either seen or experienced age discrimination. This is despite additional federal protections that should help older employees stay in the workplace, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act that protects seniors with injuries or health issues.

If you have been the victim of age discrimination, then we urge you to contact a labor attorney. You can reach The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation.