Ageism Still Exists in the Workplace, Hurts Millions of Older Workers

Unjust employment discrimination is a serious problem that can affect anyone, young and old. A recently-released study from the University of California at Irvine and Tulane University has concluded that age discrimination in particular is getting out of hand but no one is noticing.

Researchers created 40,000 job applications under dummy pseudonyms, each one making note of the “applicant’s” age, and sent them to a myriad of employers who stated that they were actively hiring. Data was then collected based on the callback rates for each job. It found that people between 49 and 51 years of age got callbacks 29% less often than younger applicants for administrative positions, despite qualifications being essentially the same. Any applicant over 64 years old was 47% less likely to get a callback.

12% Jobless Rate for 55 & Older Americans

The university researchers are not the only ones looking into the issue of ageism in the American workplace. The Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) also conducted data research of its own.

A cursory glance at the jobless rate of people over 55 reveals it is at 3.5%. The nation’s average is about 4.9%, so that seems pretty fantastic. However, looking deeper into the issue showed the real truth. Factoring workers in part-time positions but looking for full-time, unemployed workers who recently stopped looking for employment, and those who stopped seeking employment more than one month ago, the number actually rises to 12%. This equates to 2.5 million older Americans who are looking for gainful employment but cannot find it. And, those who actually do regain employment, usually do so at a 25% wage drop from what they were earning before.

(You can find an entire article discussing these findings by visiting Time Money.)

How Can Age Discrimination Be Handled?

When it comes to employment discrimination of any kind, it is important to create lasting, effective legislation that directly addresses the issue. But the underlying problem is when discrimination is done subtly, such as during the hiring process. An employer that puts aside the job application of someone over 55 could cite any number of reasons, like a lack of references or field experience, when the actual reason is ageism.

For cases of age discrimination in the workplace that sidestep regulations and laws, litigation is often the only answer. If you need to create a lawsuit for fair compensation and treatment after facing discrimination at work, or by a potential employer, you should call 404-781-1100 to reach Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP. Our Atlanta employment law attorneys can bring 85+ years of total legal experience to your case, so contact us today.