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Age discrimination often a barrier for older workers

Regrettably, age discrimination is alive and well in America, with many older Americans asserting that they experienced unfavorable treatment relating to their age while on the job, or when trying to find a job. According to AARP, American workers over 35 see it as the single biggest barrier to finding employment, and two out of every three American workers between 45 and 74 report being a victim of such treatment.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 sets guidelines that make it against the law to treat workers differently once they reach the age of 40, and its tenets apply to employers who staff 20 or more workers. However, age discrimination is still a common occurrence, and particularly within certain industries, such as the technology or entertainment industries. Many workers who are victims of age discrimination are also hesitant to report it, either because they are unsure if the treatment they are receiving is illegal, or because they fear speaking up may cost them a job. If you have experienced age discrimination in the workplace, here are some facts you should know.

It is illegal throughout the employment process

Age discrimination can occur during the hiring process, while you work for a company or when an employer lays you off or fires you. A prospective employer cannot refuse to hire you due to your age, and an existing employer may not factor your age in when making decisions about promotions, raises and so on.

Men and women often perceive age discrimination differently

Women are more likely to believe that age discrimination is a real, genuine problem in the workplace than men. More than 70 percent of women between 45 and 74 believe age discrimination is a prevailing problem, compared with only 57 percent of men within the same age group.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received nearly 21,000 reports of age discrimination in 2016 alone. If you are a victim of this type of treatment, you may be able to pursue recourse.

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  1. Charles W. Dobbins, Jr.

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