AARP study shows age discrimination is rampant in the workplace

A recent AARP survey says that the vast majority of older workers have experienced age discrimination.

As Forbes reports, a recent study by the AARP has found that more than half a century after the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed, age discrimination remains distressingly common in the workplace. The study shows that the vast majority of older workers have some personal experience with age discrimination and that almost all older workers in the U.S. see age discrimination as common. Many of those surveyed pointed to the job application process at many companies as being particularly discriminatory against older applicants.

Age discrimination pervasive at work

The AARP survey questioned nearly 4,000 people over the age of 45 who were either working full- or part-time or who were looking for employment. The study showed that 61 percent of respondents had personally experienced age discrimination either against themselves or a colleague with women more likely to be victims of age discrimination than men.

African Americans and Latinos were the most likely to experience age discrimination, at 75 and 60 percent respectively, while 59 percent of white respondents reported personally experiencing it. Over 90 percent of respondents said they thought age discrimination in the workplace was common. Despite age discrimination being illegal, only three percent of respondents said they had filed a formal complaint.

Hiring process discriminatory

Age discrimination often manifests itself during the hiring process, with many job postings putting up barriers to the hiring of older employees. As Reuters reports, an especially common tactic is to use what is called a "disparate impact" policy. A disparate impact in a job posting does not appear discriminatory on the surface, but in effect it is designed to exclude a protected demographic.

For example, Reuters notes that one law firm is currently being sued for age discrimination after its job posting stipulated it wanted only applicants who had a maximum of seven years of experience. In effect, that meant that there were very few applicants over 40 who would have qualified.

Indeed, the AARP survey notes that fears about age discrimination alone are enough to make older people fearful of losing their current jobs. The survey found that a third of respondents believed their age would make it difficult for them to find a new job if their current one was terminated.

Employment law

Age discrimination is illegal and it is becoming a growing area of concern as the country continues to get older. Anybody who has been the victim of discrimination in the workplace should get in touch with an employment law attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help clients defend their rights and, in many situations, will be able to help them pursue compensation that they may be entitled to claim.