Ageism: A form of discrimination that will likely never die

If there is one thing that the recent recession has taught a lot of people, it is that no job is secure. And as we noted in a couple of posts late last month and early this month, many who found themselves in tough situations during those hard times were individuals in the older ranks of workers.

Those posts sought to impress on readers how important it is for older workers to know the law. Age discrimination cases can be challenging to fight because the crime can be committed so surreptitiously, but it starts with knowing the law. And considering that different federal and state laws might apply, and that they each have their own set of procedural hoops that must be jumped through, timely consultation with skilled legal counsel is always recommended.

Another truth that needs to be acknowledged, and which reinforces the importance of knowing age discrimination violations when they happen, is the prediction from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that conditions are only going to get worse.

Ten years ago, the EEOC reported it was receiving about 18,000 age discrimination claims a year. Last year, the number hit 20,588. And officials say it won’t get any better as millennial generation workers push into the workforce from below and baby boom workers at the top find themselves unwilling to retire.

Some employment law observers contend that many older workers feel they are unable to retire because their plans aren’t sufficient to cover the extended life spans. Meanwhile, companies desperate to reduce labor costs have incentive to drive out older, higher-paid workers so younger, lower-cost workers can be hired.

Another thing legal experts suggest is a problem is that U.S. culture doesn’t take age discrimination as seriously as other forms. As a result, reaction to it is less aggressive, which suggests that victims of age discrimination need to be willing to come forward.

Source: Reuters, “Ageism in U.S. workplace: a persistent problem unlikely to go away,” Patricia Reaney, Oct. 19, 2015


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