AARP Survey Finds Most Older Americans in New York and Nationwide Have Experienced Age Discrimination at Work
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a worker who is over 40 based solely upon his or her age. According to a survey recently conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), however, about two-thirds of workers over age 50 have reportedly witnessed or experienced age discrimination at work. More than half of those workers stated they believe such discrimination begins after an employee turns 50.
As part of the survey, the AARP asked more than 1,500 American workers between the ages of 45 and 74 about their workplace experiences. Almost 20 percent of the individuals surveyed stated they believe they were not hired due to their age on at least one occasion and an estimated 12 percent apparently believe they were passed over for promotion as a result. Additionally, nearly 10 percent of older workers said they felt they were denied workplace training opportunities or let go because of their age.
Still, about three-quarters of older workers surveyed said they were not treated differently as a result of their age. Jean Setzfand, Vice President of Financial Security for AARP, said many older people do not realize they are being discriminated against at work. Setzfand stated a specific discriminatory situation usually occurs before many older workers realize their age played a role in their career trajectory. At least one-third of survey respondents allegedly claimed they were not confident they would be able to find a new job quickly without agreeing to be paid a lower wage.
Aging is a simple fact of life. Despite that older workers normally bring greater experience and leadership skills to the workplace, some employers choose to discriminate against them. If an employer makes hiring, promotion, compensation, termination, or many other employment decisions based upon a worker's age, the employer has engaged in discrimination. Although federal law protects workers over age 40 from age discrimination, both New York and New Jersey protect all adults. In fact, both states legally protect a youthful employee from the so-called reverse age discrimination that may occur when an employer deems a worker to be too young to bring valuable experience to the workplace.