Here’s a quick pop quiz: Which one of these examples is considered age discrimination in employment?
- Ryan, who just graduated from University, recently had an interview with a Real Estate Firm. The interview went well, and Ryan’s resume was very impressive. But he was not hired due to the fact the Real Estate Firm was concerned he was “too young” and would “quickly move onto another job”.
- Thomas, who is 61 years old, was a quality manager at a car dealership for many years until the 2009 recession. Since then, he has been doing odd jobs to get by. For over three years now, he has been actively seeking a job. Thomas has aced multiple phone interviews and has been told many times he has an impressive resume. But when he does an in-person interview, he is quickly dismissed – he looks “too old” for the job.
- An accounting firm posts an advertisement on LinkedIn for someone to join a “young, dynamic team”.
Trick question – these are all examples of employment age discrimination. As an employer and/or business owner, it is crucial to take measures to prevent discrimination from happening, rather than just respond to complaints that arise. An employer needs to take proactive steps to eliminate discrimination. You have to be educated on local and federal laws that could put your business at risk for litigation. In my fourth EPL course, I will be discussing age discrimination and new evidence of age bias in hiring.
What is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) is a law enforced by the EEOC that protects against discrimination against applicants and employees over the age of 40. This problem is still common and widespread today. A New York Times article highlighted new evidence of age bias in hiring.
“The problem is getting more scrutiny after revelations that hundreds of employers shut out middle-aged and older Americans in their recruiting on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms,” the June 7 New York Times article stated. “Older workers are much more likely to wrestle with prolonged joblessness than younger ones, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On average, a 54-year-old job hunter will be unemployed for nearly a year. It is toughest for women, who suffer more age discrimination than men starting in their 40s, the researchers found.”