The pandemic had sweeping effects on California workers and the economy at large. Some companies saw increases in demand, but for many workers, the impacts were both adverse – and lasting. According to the new study released by the AARP, older women saw some of the worst effects, and they don’t appear to be subsiding. Fair employment advocates say age discrimination and sex discrimination play no little part in the phenomenon. Workers who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of their age or gender should reach out to a long-time, trusted Los Angeles employment law firm.
Some of the primary takeaways from the AARP study,
- About 40 percent of mid-career and older women workers experienced at least one job interruption during the pandemic.
- Of those who are still unemployed, roughly 70 percent have been out-of-work for six months or more.
- Among those who are still employed, most remain concerned about their financial future and potential unemployment.
- More than 25 percent report their financial situations have worsened over the course of the pandemic.
One common thread for all employed women was the implication of caregiving. It was reported that 1 in 3 took care of a child or grandchild home during the pandemic for remote schooling. For many, that meant they could only work certain shifts or hours or reduced hours. Nearly half of employed women at some point during the pandemic were caring for either a child, grandchild, or adult family member or friend.
Then factor in that age discrimination in hiring has long been a stubborn problem in America’s workplaces for years. Older and mid-career women are often the most significantly impacted. The AARP’s survey of nearly 34,000 women workers found that almost a third who were job hunting believed age discrimination had been a hurdle in their efforts to secure a new position.
What Is Age Discrimination?
Age discrimination claims can be brought under both federal and California state law by persons 40 and older whose employment (or prospects of employment) have been adversely impacted because of their age.
Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), it’s applicable to employers (and prospective employers), unions, employment agencies, and apprenticeship training programs.
As for why it occurs, our Los Angeles age discrimination lawyers have come to see that many employers unfortunately seize on negative age-based preconceived notions, stereotypes, and generalizations about the work habits, productivity, health, qualifications, and job performance of older workers. We have laws against age discrimination precisely because it has long been very prevalent.
Age discrimination at work can manifest as:
- Failure to hire (or even interview) older applicants.
- Failure to promote.
- Reduction in salary.
- Harassment and discrimination (including “jokes” about old age).
- Firing higher salary employees or those who have been with the company longest.
- Targeting older workers in lay-offs.
- Making older workers take on less desirable or profitable duties or assignments.
- Denial of equal pay.
- Denial of promotion.
- Denial of medical leave.
- Promotion of a youthful corporate culture.
- Forcing retirement of older employees.
With regard to recruiting, we are aware of several practices employers use to try to get around the very clear laws against age discrimination. Some will solely screen and hire applicants through high school or university recruitment programs, thus inherently discriminating against older workers.
Although it isn’t unlawful for employers to ask job applicants for their date-of-birth, it’s illegal to use that information to reject applicants on the basis of them being 40 or older.
It’s worth noting that some practices may not be directly related to age, but disproportionately impact older workers. This can still fall under the category of age discrimination. For example, some companies will target higher-paid workers for lay-offs, buy-outs, etc. If this adversely and disproportionately impacts older workers, it can be deemed age discrimination.
If you have questions about whether you have an age discrimination or gender discrimination case in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, or Newport Beach, we can help.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Newport Beach, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
WOMEN, WORK, AND THE ROAD TO RESILIENCE: WORKING WOMEN AT MIDLIFE AND BEYOND, September 2021, AARP