The AARP recently conducted a survey of those over the age of 45 to gauge their feelings about age discrimination at work. Of those in New York and elsewhere who responded, 61 percent said that they had experienced age discrimination or seen others experience it. Furthermore, 38 percent said that they believed the practice to be very common. However, research does show that the workforce participation rate for older Americans is higher than it was before the Great Recession.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) says that companies cannot discriminate against those who are age 40 and over. However, it is still considered to be an open secret that older workers have trouble finding work because of their age. According to one advisor from the EEOC, it is among the most accepted forms of discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination based on age goes farther than simply refusing to hire someone who is deemed to be too old.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, only 3 percent of those who experienced age discrimination filed a complaint. In 1967, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was implemented, which is meant to protect New York workers and others from ageism. However, studies have shown that 90 percent of respondents aged 45 and older believe that ageism is common in the workplace. Furthermore, 60 percent said that they have seen or experienced it themselves.
A new form of discrimination is rearing its ugly head and could affect many workers in the New York City area. While some argue that this type of discrimination is not actually new, age discrimination is reappearing.
New York employees may be interested to learn that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was reportedly investigating a number of layoffs that occurred at Intel. According to sources, it was suspected that the company discriminated against older employees after initiating more than 10,000 layoffs across the globe.
People over 40 in New York often never know why companies rejected their job applications, but age discrimination could play a role. A trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission called ageism one of the most common forms of workplace discrimination. Her comment followed the announcement of a $3 million settlement between the EEOC and the restaurant chain Seasons 52, part of the Darden restaurant group. The class-action lawsuit represented 254 plaintiffs although more people might be eligible to make a claim.
For some older employees in Long Island, age discrimination on the job might take the form of being forced into early retirement or given work conditions that make the job unacceptable. According to a report by the organization ProPublica and the magazine Mother Jones, IBM used these types of tactics to reduce the number of older workers in its ranks.
People in New York who fly United Airlines might be interested to learn that the airline has been successfully sued for age discrimination. The flight attendants, who are now 59 and 66, were terminated five years ago. At the time, they had a total of 70 years of experience with the airline. In 2015, they filed an age discrimination lawsuit against United in Denver.
Despite having a wealth of experience and wisdom, it is not unusual for older workers in New York to be discriminated against. Even though it is nearly impossible to control how the working world may perceive them because of their maturity, older workers can take certain steps to avoid being discriminated against because of their age.
Online platforms like Facebook, Google and LinkedIn allow employers in New York and around the country to focus their help wanted advertising by using demographic filters. However, the results of a recent investigation conducted by the New York Times and ProPublica suggest that some of the nation's largest companies are using these features to skirt labor laws prohibiting age discrimination. The companies mentioned in the report include Goldman Sachs, Target, Amazon, Verizon and even Facebook itself.