More and more people are working into their 70’s and even 80’s as the baby boom generation is hitting retirement age. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that over 30 percent of employees ages 65 to 74 will still be working by 2022, a big jump over previous decades.
Certainly, seniors possess many skills and experiences that are valuable to companies. Older workers bring historical perspective, networks developed over years in their industries, client relationships and a greater depth of experience.
However, despite the obvious upside to more seasoned employees, aging members of the workforce face pervasive stereotypes. Often times, older workers are perceived to be less motivated, represent a business risk, or are thought to be too costly to keep on the payroll.
As a result, some older workers report being forced out of jobs in subtle or not-so-subtle ways. They may be given less duties and responsibilities commensurate to their abilities, receive less than a competitive wage or experience outright hostility. Others have fallen victim to downsizing, only to have a younger workforce replace them when a company rebounds. The problem doesn’t stop with discriminatory treatment on the job, however; many older workers claim that businesses simply won’t hire them in the first place.
Allegations of age discrimination have resulted in some companies being sued. In Florida, for example, one private school was sued after rounding up 8 employees in their fifties to mid-seventies and blatantly telling them “you’re out of here”. Another lawsuit resulted when an aging television broadcaster was told by management “she was too old to be on the air”. Many may remember the case of the Texas Roadhouse, where older employees worked in the shadows, while younger employees prominently worked “front of house”.
A number of state and federal laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants on the basis of age, prompting many older Americans to push back against employers. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the number of age-related complaints has skyrocketed, resulting in approximately 25,000 age discrimination complaints every year.
If you believe you have been a victim of age discrimination in the workplace, it is important to contact a Des Moines employment law attorney to evaluate your case. It may be a matter of discriminatory intent and/or treatment due to your age or it may be disparate treatment resulting form an employment policy, rule or practice. If you have complained, you may also be experiencing retaliation for reporting a problem. Whatever the case, an experienced employment discrimination attorney can effectively represent you if you have been negatively impacted due to discrimination in the workplace. Contact Des Moines’ leading age discrimination lawyer, Marc Humphrey, to get the help you need today.