In 2014, 20,588 complaints were made to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging age discrimination in the workplace. This was a significant increase in the number of complaints compared with the 17,837 complaints raised by workers a decade ago. Experienced Los Angeles age discrimination lawyers know ageism is a growing problem in the workplace as baby boomers age. In fact, a recent Reuters article indicates the problem of age discrimination is likely to get worse before it gets better.
Age Discrimination in the Workplace is a Concern for Older Workers
People are living longer and the population is aging, which is creating a perfect storm when it comes to the problem of age discrimination. Many people in the older generation do not have the money to retire and live off their nest egg for decades. As a result, people are trying to work longer.
At the same time as increasing number of older workers are looking for jobs or hoping to keep jobs, employers are trying to cut costs. Employers want to hire younger people, who will work for less, rather than hiring or retaining older people with more experience who command higher salaries. Many employers also buy into stereotypes about older workers, including a belief older workers are not as productive or are not as familiar with technology as the new generation.
Although research shows job performance does not decrease with age, shaking this perception is a challenge. Stereotypes and misconceptions about older workers are particularly common in industries in which a value is placed on youth, technology, fashion, and advertising. While Hollywood actresses are bringing attention to the issue by pointing out the challenge in finding roles for mature women, the problem exists across a great number of industries like marketing and computer science. Many baby boomers are employed in these fields and wish to work past traditional retirement age, but are facing challenges in finding new employment and in keeping existing jobs.
Many older workers across all industries have experienced discrimination as a result of issues related to their advancing age. When AARP conducted a survey of 1,502 adults in 2014, most had experienced ageism in the workplace. In fact, 2/3 of surveyed workers between the ages of 45 and 74 indicated they had experienced discrimination as a result of their age. This discrimination is illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects adults age 40 and older and prohibits employers from considering age as a factor in hiring, firing, or terms and conditions of employment.
AARP is aiming to provide more education to older workers about their rights, but many people are unaware of the full measure of legal protections in place designed to prevent discrimination. If workers do not come forward, report ageism, and take legal action, employers will continue to get away with the behavior and the aging population who wants or needs to continue working will face significant challenges in keeping their jobs or finding new work opportunities.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
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