The baby boom generation has long been influential in many areas of American life. From the post-WWII explosion of the suburbs and the building of thousands of schools, to the student unrest and political protest of the 1960s, and the focus of consumer marketing, the generation has shaped much of American culture for the last 50 years.
And in the area of employment discrimination, they are making their mark, as they are finding themselves subject to age discrimination. This trend was accelerated by the financial crisis of 2008, which led to many businesses laying off or firing employees.
While most workers in the U.S. are at will employees, meaning they can be fired for virtually any reason, there are some prohibited categories, such as those encompassed by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects workers age 40 and older.
Older workers are a tempting target for terminations, as they typically earn more and may be seen as less flexible or tech savvy than younger staff.
An attorney from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for enforcing the federal workplace protection laws, notes that unemployment for workers older than age 50 doubled between 2007 and 2011.
Age discrimination cases can be difficult to bring, when actions like layoffs seemingly affect all workers, but if you can show evidence that older workers were targeted, or that there are communications from managers that suggest that younger workers are better, or more effective, you may have a valid grounds for an age discrimination claim.
The more evidence you can produce of a climate that favors youth and penalizes workers age 40 and older, the better your chances are of making a successfully claim.
Source: Fa-mag.com, “Unemployment, Age Discrimination Impacting Boomers, Labor Attorney Says,” Ted Knutson, June 9, 2015