As the number of baby boomers interested in remaining in the work force continues to increase, so too does the number of age discrimination claims. With improved health care leading to longer life spans and overall health, many more older Americans wish to stay in the workforce. While employers should welcome the opportunity to retain experienced workers, they may be reluctant to hire older employees who may demand higher pay checks and benefits.
A recent study from the Social Security Administration evaluated older workers (those in their early 50s), and found that more than 50% were forced to leave their jobs for a variety of reasons, including involuntary/unexpected retirement, dissatisfaction with their job, layoffs and job closings. The study also found that nearly 39% of workers were forced to retire. This includes losing jobs due to illegal age discrimination.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination against workers older than 40 years old. Illegal discrimination includes failing to hire, or promote older workers (defined as over 40), as well as terminations and harassment. The ADEA also protects against retaliation for complaining about discrimination, or participating in someone else’s discrimination case. A claim for retaliation may exist even if the underlying discrimination is ultimately not shown.
Thus, despite the positive attributes older employees can bring to a position, many workers are simply not able to maintain fulfilling jobs into their later years. Unfortunately this trend not only affects older workers financially, but also negatively impacts their physical and mental health.
For more information or if you believe that you have faced age or any other type of employment discrimination, please contact our dedicated Atlanta employment lawyersat Buckley Bala Wilson Mew.