Employment discrimination of all kinds often involves some level of ignorance about what impact certain characteristics have on people’s ability to do a job. That’s often the case with age discrimination. In a society that seems to worship youth, people who have hit 40 or older are too often not considered as capable of doing a job as a younger person.
Today, when so many jobs don’t require quickness, strength or stamina, age shouldn’t be a factor as long as someone has the skills and knowledge to perform the necessary tasks. At a time when people are able to work into their senior years (and often need to for financial reasons), the problem of age discrimination is a serious one. In 2016, almost 19 percent of people over 65 were still working. By next year, people who are 55 and older are expected to make up a quarter of the U.S. workforce.
Of course, we have both federal and state laws that protect people from age discrimination in the workplace. These include the Arizona Civil Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) provides employment protection to people in their 40s and over when it comes to hiring, compensation, promotion, terms of employment, discharge and more. However, too many people still bump up against the “gray ceiling.”
Sometimes age discrimination, particularly when it comes to lay-offs, isn’t based on beliefs about an older person’s ability to do a job. Sometimes it’s financial. Employees who have been with a company for a long time are likely earning a higher salary and have more benefits than a new, younger worker. However, laying someone off or mandating early retirement for that reason is still wrong.
It may be difficult to prove that age discrimination was the reason you weren’t hired or promoted or the reason you lost a job unless someone with the company was foolish enough to come out and say it. However, sometimes there’s a pattern of such discrimination by a company that isn’t dealt with until enough people take action.
To learn more about how our attorneys fight for people in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area who have suffered employment discrimination of all kinds, we invite you to learn more about us here on our website.