In less than 10 years, more than a quarter of the population in California is going to be over the age of 60. Nationally by 2035, the number of people over the age of 65 will outnumber those under 18 – for the first time ever. As we speak, there are an estimated 10,000 people in America turning 65 every day. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that Los Angeles employment lawyers are getting more inquiries than ever about age discrimination at work and what constitutes a possible claim.
Age discrimination is unlawful under both California and U.S. laws – but it can be tough to prove, despite being increasingly common. It is very important if you’re considering pursuit of an age discrimination claim that you prioritize hiring an employment lawyer who knows what they’re doing – and has a proven track record of success in this particular area of law.
Why Do Employers Engage in Age Discrimination?
Older workers are defined as those 40 and older, and they may be vulnerable in landing and/or keeping a job – primarily on the basis of their age.
According to the AARP, an estimated 80 percent of older workers say they’ve experienced age discrimination at work.
Why would a workplace discriminate against older workers? Among the reasons sometimes cited (openly or not) for favoring younger workers:
- They may be open to more flexible work schedules. They are less likely to have spouses, families, and other obligations that demand a reasonable work-life balance.
- They tend to be more attractive. This of course is not a relevant factor for most positions, but the beauty bias is real and well-established.
- They’re cheaper. Less experience means lower salaries, fewer benefits, less sick leave, less risk of injury, etc.
- They’re better with technology. This is a myth – more experienced workers are just as efficient with the most up-to-date tech. But this misconception sometimes drives age discrimination in employment.
Many of these are rooted in preconceived notions and age-based stereotypes. Some of these reasons cited may be a solid basis for an age discrimination claim, depending on the particulars.