Discrimination in the workplace knows no boundaries. It can occur in private companies or public employers. It can occur for entry level positions and for positions that demand years of experience. Two examples from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) highlight the problems workers can experience with age discrimination when applying of positions.
The first occurred in a fast food restaurant, where the EEOC reports that a woman, age 54 interviewed for a cashier/cook position. When asked her age, the general manager responded that that was “too old.” Similarly, a man, age 58 applied for a vacant cook position and he was told the restaurant was not hiring.
The general manager then apparently told a Department of Veterans Affairs vocational counselor, who had sent the two individuals to the restaurant, that he did not want any more old applicants as they did not work hard enough for him.
He must have forgotten about the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The EEOC will remind him of that law’s requirements.
In a similar case, an attorney applied for a job with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Office of Public Records. He was older than age 40 and was covered by the protection of the ADEA.
He applied for an appeals officer position. The job seemingly would benefit from the an attorney with 30 years of experience. It involved the reviewing of citizen challenges after state agencies have refused to provide records under the state’s open records law.
The Executive Director of the agency told the man he did not believe he would have “long tenure” and he might be retiring soon, due to his previous experience of working for the state.
Apparently, many employers still need a refresher course in the ADEA, and that it is illegal to discriminate against workers age 40 and older.