If you take a second to stop and look around the modern workforce, you’ll notice an undeniable trend. While millennials continue to be among the most desired employees, older individuals are now working longer and retiring later. Many claim this is the result of disappearing pensions, longer lifespans, and older workers looking to maximize their Social Security benefits by working longer.
This massive age gap in qualified workers, however, has led to a rise in age discrimination claims. The reported issues identify discrimination everywhere from the hiring process to hostile work environments as employers strive to keep their workplaces “fun” and “active.” But what does this mean for older workers? Are there legal protections in place or are they forced to adapt now that times have changed?
The American workforce’s most rapidly-growing demographic is individuals age 65 and older and this trend seems to be one that will continue for some time. A recent Gallup study of roughly 1,000 adults aged 18 and up found that 41% of adults who have not yet retired plan to do so at age 66 or older. This figure is one that’s risen steadily since 1995, as it continues to be a necessity for many to work longer and save more.
Many individuals have even expressed concern about running out of retirement funds too soon. As a result, many older individuals find themselves refreshing their resumes and getting back out into the workforce. Unfortunately, they’re not as widely embraced as they once were.
Hiring priorities for companies around the nation are disproportionately geared toward recruiting and retaining individuals from younger generations. To ensure that they only attract the most desirable candidates, companies will often mention a “maximum years of experience” in a job posting or require applicants to identify graduation dates. This is just the early vetting process.
Older individuals who are currently employed will often find themselves unable to grow internally as they’re often passed over for younger applicants. The reason for that is older employees are more expensive to support and many companies hope that by denying them raises, promotions, and assigning them duties outside of their job description, they will quit.
All hope isn’t lost when it comes to ending age discrimination. While there’s no way to require an employer to hire or promote a certain number of older workers, there are laws in place that can penalize those who discriminate against them. The Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from age discrimination in the workplace. However, many people have repeatedly found it difficult to support their claims of age discrimination due to evidence limitations.
The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act aims to change that. Sponsored by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Virginia, the legislation aims to allow the use of any type of admissible evidence to prove age discrimination. Similar efforts have been attempted in the past but never gained enough traction to get voted into law. Still, the legislation’s bipartisan support has some believing it has a better chance of passage now than in previous years.
You don’t have to wait until Congress makes a decision before you take action. Colorado employment lawyer Nathan Davidovich of the Davidovich Law Firm has more than 55 years of experience and has helped many people like you settle complex labor issues.
As a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Mr. Davidovich is a well-respected attorney in the community and dedicates his practice to protecting the rights of those in need. Discover if you have a case for age discrimination by contacting us today at (303) 825-5529.