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Age discrimination an ongoing workplace problem

Older New York residents who are looking for work might find themselves struggling because of their age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects workers at or over 40 from discrimination, but an AARP study found that most older people believe age discrimination is still a problem in the workplace.

This belief is backed up by other studies. When researchers submitted 40,000 job applications, they found that for administrative work, people between the ages of 49 and 51 received 29 percent fewer callbacks compared to younger workers. For people over 64, the rate was 47 percent fewer.

Statistics show that the true unemployment rate among workers over 55 is as much as 12 percent when people who have stopped looking for work and those who are working part time while wanting full-time jobs are taken into account. Older workers who lose their jobs and find new ones often do so at pay rates that are 75 percent of what they were making before while around 60 percent of older workers who lose their jobs end up retiring although they do not want to.

Women over 55 have higher long-term unemployment rates than men in the same age group, but white men 55 or older who have no more than a high school education struggle as well. In every other demographic, job tenure rose between 2012 and 2014, but for this group, the median tenure went from 17.7 years to 16.7 years.

Unfortunately, age discrimination can be difficult to prove because employers may try to make it look as though terminating a worker or taking some other discriminatory action is related to job performance. An older worker may also fear retaliation for pursuing the issue and might want to talk to an attorney to see what recourse may be available if an adverse action is taken by the employer.

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