The sheer number of baby boomers in the workforce combined with people delaying retirement out of financial necessity has led to a rise in discrimination claims made by workers claiming ageism. Despite having years of qualifying experience, older workers are being laid off more and more and their jobs filled by younger, less-tenured workers. Subsequently, they are finding it difficult to be hired elsewhere.
"It is going to get worse because the older generation doesn't have the money to retire and then live 20 more years," says Brian Schaffer, a New York employment lawyer. "Companies are trying to cut costs and one of the ways to do try it is to eliminate older workers and hire much younger people."
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 20,588 claims of age-related discrimination were filed in 2014 — a rise from 17,837 a decade earlier. While still lower than the 2008 peak of 24,582, legal experts say the trend is unlikely to reverse as millennials continue to filter into the workforce and baby boomers remain reluctant to leave it. And while the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 prohibits discrimination against people 40 and older, a 2013 AARP survey showed that two-thirds of workers between the ages of 45 to 74 said they have seen or experienced ageism.
Boomer workers claim that many employers consider older workers "ineffective" due to their age — or worse, a liability. Yet this stereotype is unfounded, according to Michael Campion, a professor of management at Purdue University in Indiana.
"There is a presumption that job performance decreases with age despite all the research showing it doesn't," said Campion.
If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination due to age, sex, disability, ethnicity or any other reason, contact The Meyers Law Firm. Our employment discrimination lawyers will review your claim and advise you how to proceed.