In California, when people think about illegal behaviors in the workplace, they may automatically consider sexual harassment. This is due largely to the “Me Too” movement and greater attention paid to the problem. Other ongoing challenges are discrimination due to race, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Age discrimination might not get the same level of attention, but recent surveys show it is still happening. People who have been subjected to this form of discrimination have the right to file a complaint and seek justice.
AARP says age discrimination has hampered older job seekers
The recent global health crisis sparked dramatic changes to workplaces and how employers are hired. This has had a statistically negative impact on older workers.
First, there were the layoffs. Then more people were working from home and all it entailed. Many people decided to leave their jobs entirely. Older people saw this as an opportunity to head back to the workforce. Unfortunately, researchers say that people 50 and older experienced age discrimination as they tried to find work.
In a survey of people 50 and older, there were 2,945 respondents. A stunning number – 91% – stated they were confronted with age discrimination. It not only impacted people who were trying to find work, but it affected those who already had a job and were trying to advance.
Fifteen percent said they applied for a job and believed their age was believed to be a factor in not getting hired; 53% said a prospective employer asked to give their date of birth while they were applying or interviewing; 47% were asked when they graduated.
In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that older people are unemployed longer than younger people. Around one-quarter of people 55 and above who are looking for jobs were out of work for at least half a year. For people 16 to 54, it was just over 19%. One in three said they received comments about their age. Thirteen percent did not get promotions they felt they had earned.
Age discrimination is a legal violation that should be addressed
Age discrimination can occur for many reasons. Perhaps an employer does not think older workers can adapt to the changed workplace as easily as younger workers. There could be a perception that salary will be an obstacle and their demands will be higher, therefore they are not even considered for the job. Or it might just be due to plain bias.
Regardless, people who have the qualifications for a job and are not hired or already have a job and are demoted, stagnate or are terminated because of their age should be cognizant of the law. There are options to hold employers who violate the law accountable. Consulting with experienced professionals who understand all aspects of employment law can assess the case, gather evidence and proceed in pursuing a claim.