A study released earlier this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research found there was little to no protection for older employees during and after a recession. Experts in economics and hiring trends indicate that while some states offer better job protection to older employees, the laws apply only in times of non-recession. They concluded that when times get tough, older employees suffer more than their younger counterparts.
Although older workers tend to be more reliable at holding onto their jobs, if they do get laid off, it is much more difficult for them to find new employment compared to younger workers. A recent report showed that more than 29 states profess tough age discrimination laws that provide compensatory or punitive damages if a claimant can prove intent or willful violation. The report found evidence of unemployment rates for older workers were higher in states with the stronger age discrimination protection. This was clearly emphasized the first year and a half after the end of the recession and affected women more dramatically.
The study based its findings on overall hiring and employment patterns among younger and older workers across the board, marking vast differences in pre-recession and post-recession trends. It made no mention of changing employer decisions or recovery-related issues in a recession but did suggest the claims of age discrimination were harder to prove during periods of massive lay-offs and among states with stronger age discrimination laws.
While anti-discrimination laws make it difficult to terminate older employees, the laws themselves may dissuade employers from hiring older individuals in the first place. Stronger age discrimination laws provide protection in economically-strong times, but during recessions, severe market disruptions weaken the effect of age discrimination laws and make it difficult to protect the faithful, yet aging baby boomers.
In these challenging economic times, if you feel you have been a victim of age discrimination on the job, it is advisable to seek legal advice from an expert in employment law. These individuals can provide counsel and explain what your options are to help protect you from age discrimination on the job.
huffingtonpost.com, “Age Discrimination Laws Did Not Help Older Workers During The Recession” Philip Moeller, Jul. 19, 2013