Age discrimination in employment is always a problem for the employee to prove. Absent an explicit statement by an employer that they won’t hire older workers or will always fire employees when they reach age 50, proving age discrimination often requires showing circumstantial facts, that when added together, demonstrate discrimination.
And with a greater number of older workers than ever before, there are greater opportunities for age discrimination. In 2014, labor force participation reached 22.1 percent for men age 65 and older, which was an increase in 4.4 percent from the year 2000.
Employer’s like younger workers because they are less expensive and they are inexperienced. While inexperience is typically seen as being a detriment because it lowers production, for many employers it has an added benefit.
Younger workers have less experience with work systems and processes and are far more naive. Employers can extract more work from them and because of their inexperience the employee may not even recognize they are being cheated out of compensation, benefits or other rights.
Employers do this because the often can get away with it. Because most employees do not understand the rigorous requirements of courtroom evidence, they often fail to acquire sufficient evidence before an employer changes its behavior or fires them.
Most employers know they cannot engage in blatant age discrimination. If you are an older worker and you suspect your employer is attempting to marginalize you or denying you opportunities, you should speak with an attorney, who could advise you of the types of information necessary that could provide the basis for a viable age discrimination case.
Source: detroitnews.com, “Age discrimination hard to prove,” Teresa Wiltz, Stateline.org, September 27, 2015