In today’s economy, more and more employees are finding it next to impossible to retire. The costs associated with health care, housing and other necessities of life mean that many men and women are forced to remain in the workforce long past the traditional retirement age of 65.
But this unfortunate truth comes with its own set of problems – one of which is the fact that many companies are reluctant to hire older workers.
Age discrimination in the workplace is illegal, both under California law and federal law. However, what the law says on paper and what companies actually do in practice is often as different as apples and asparagus.
40,000 Resumes Provide Hard Data On Hard-To-Prove Age Bias
A professor of economics at the University of California, along with two other economists, recently conducted a study on age discrimination. According to NPR, they began by submitting 40,000 resumes to myriad companies with open positions.
Several resumes were submitted for each open job listing, and those resumes were exactly the same – except for the age of the supposed applicant. This allowed the researchers to gather data on how often the prospective employers contacted applicants in each age group.
The results were surprising.
Essentially, the number of interview requests decreased significantly between the “young” resumes and the “middle-aged” resumes. The number of interview requests decreased still further between the “middle-aged” and “older” resumes. Of all the groups, retirement-age women were the least likely to be contacted by companies.
How Companies Try To Circumvent The Law
While employers rarely ever say, “This job is not available to those over 50,” they are often skilled at coming up with subtle ways to circumvent the law. For instance, the guidelines provided to job recruiters may say, “Look for candidates who graduated college less than three years ago,” or “Avoid applicants with more than eight years of work experience.”
Don’t Become The Next Victim
If you suspect that you were denied a certain job, passed over for a promotion or otherwise discriminated against due to your age, don’t hesitate to consult an employee rights attorney. A lawyer skilled in these types of issues can provide detailed guidance about your options for obtaining justice.