It’s a question that has been weighing heavily on the minds of many older adults in Indiana for years now. Ever since the recession, the job market has become not only competitive but businesses are advancing on the idea that more experienced workers equal higher pay. But what happens to people who are 50 years or older and out of work? And can businesses really discriminate against them based on their age?
As readers of our blog already know, age discrimination in the workplace is an unlawful act that can land businesses in precarious legal situations. But what about if you’re not employed by that company? Can job applicant experience age discrimination as well?
The answer to this question appears to be yes, according to researchers at Boston College. According to their findings, workers in their fifties are about 20 percent less likely to be re-employed than workers ages 25 to 34. Even their unemployment periods last longer than younger workers, averaging about 11 months compared to the eight month period of unemployment experienced by 25-to-36-year-olds.
Half of the baby boomers surveyed by AARP’s Public Policy Institute in 2010 and 2011said that age discrimination was a huge reason for their continued unemployment. In most cases, over-fifty applicants either never received a call from prospective employers or were told that they had “too much experience,” a term many felt meant they were too old.
Although it may be difficult to prove that you were turned down for a job because of your age, it’s not always a lost cause. Sometimes it’s blatantly obvious that age is a factor in the hiring process and it is in these circumstances that people are advised to seek legal representation. Getting help in these situations may not get you the specific job you were turned down for but the legal action you take against a company who has violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act could greatly reduce their chances of doing it again in the future to someone else.
Source: CNN Money, “Workers over 50 are the new ‘unemployables’,” Annalyn Kurtz, Feb. 26, 2013