Age Discrimination in the Workforce

Happy couple getting keys to their new house

Older workers have experience and qualifications that make them valuable assets to the companies they work for. It also makes them more expensive to hire and retain. As a result, companies sometimes opt to remove these employees from their payroll in order to save money.

In 2006, there were 23,000 charges of age discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This represented 16% of all discrimination cases reported that year. These cases included claims of lower wages, harassment, hiring disputes, and unlawful termination based on age.

Since 2008, the annual number of complaints has fluctuated between 20,000 to 25,000 per year. It is a common problem, and a 2012 survey conducted by AARP determined that 77% of Americans between the ages of 45-54 felt they had been discriminated against due to their age. It is a significant finding given the fact that workers over 50 comprise 33% of the overall workforce.

Discrimination Against Younger Workers

Age discrimination isn’t limited merely to those who are older and nearing retirement. It can happen to workers in their 20’s and 30’s, too. However, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as well as the Illinois Human Rights Act do not allow workers younger than 40 years of age to file age discrimination complaints.

In a study conducted by PBS, investigators demonstrated that age discrimination can start as early as 35. It also found that women were disproportionately impacted more than men. This was especially true when it came to entry level employment and temporary employment that occurred as workers attempted to transition into new careers.

Changing Demographics Warrant Legislative Change

The United States is expected to experience a significant shift in the workforce over the next fifteen years. Libertyville age discrimination attorneys are already beginning to see it in their practices. As Americans live longer, they are also working longer. By 2030, the over 65 demographic is expected to increase by nearly 70%. Further, the once golden standard of “Retire at 65” is no longer feasible, desirable, or realistic for many.