“Respect your elders”. This is a common phrase many of us heard from our parents or grandparents. In today’s culture, we do anything but. This is evident in how the elderly are treated- or should I say mistreated- in nursing homes, in our medical system, on the phone with customer service agents, and in the grocery store. We live in an ageism culture where stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age runs rampant.
The workplace is now another channel for which we disrespect employees who are shall I say “seasoned”. These are the employees who have a wealth of knowledge, their tenure is filled with the history of a company, and they have the inside scoop on the “Why’s” of past decisions and actions. But these same people who should be valued and respected are often times ignored or worse, are the first to be let go during a restructure or reorganization.
Did I lose my job because of my age?
If you've recently been let go, and you fear it may be due to your age, according to the EEOC, this is nothing short of age discrimination, and guess what? It’s against the law. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 was specifically passed to protect workers and job applicants over the age of 40 (yes, you read that right: 40) from being passed over for jobs or other conditions of employment including layoffs. So what is ADEA? Simply put, it means:
- Age cannot be mentioned in a job ad or other recruiting information.
- Training programs cannot be limited by age.
- Employers can’t retaliate against you if you file age discrimination charges and
- Employers can’t force you to retire based upon your age.
The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of September, 2016 states that 3.9% of men over 55 are unemployed and 3.3% of women are in the same state. This number has not changed much over the past several months which indicates that jobs for this group are few and far between.
So, what to do if you’re ready for AARP, but not ready for retirement... or you're not getting that corner office view?
First, try to negotiate with your employer using their existing procedures. It may be possible for you to settle with them directly. Remember to keep accurate records and any other documentation to prove your case.
If you’ve already been laid off or have faced any other age discrimination in the workplace, the EECO is the place to go so you know your rights. Next, hire an employment lawyer well-versed in age discrimination lawsuits in your state who knows how to fight for your rights.
At Carbonaro Law, we know the law, have handled age discrimination cases successfully, and we know how to respect our elders. Contact us here. We can help.