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Hidden Reality of Age Discrimination: Older Workers Need Not Apply

In our continuing look at age discrimination, there are some worrisome issues related to the economic downturn. According to a recent Federal Reserve study, older workers are having an especially difficult time finding work despite recent improvements in the job market. The average duration of joblessness for 55 to 64 year-olds was 49 weeks as of March, 2014, almost double that experienced by the 20-24 year-old cohort, based on the latest Labor Department numbers.

The conclusions, found in a recent research note published by the San Francisco Fed, and written by David Neumark and Patrick Button of that institution, suggest “These results provide very little evidence that stronger state age discrimination protections helped older workers weather the Great Recession. In fact, the opposite may have occurred, with older workers bearing more of the brunt of the Great Recession in states with stronger age discrimination protections.” They suggest some state age discrimination laws might require modification to help increase protections for older workers during financial downturns. Given the disparity experienced around job recovery between older and younger workers, and the difficulty of proving age discrimination as a reason for not being hired, it is clear this is an issue that offers no easy solutions. Even with strong legislation in place, the burden of proof is often near-impossible to overcome, despite the overwhelming similarity in the stories of such workers.

Those who believe they are facing age discrimination in hiring are often merely not contacted after interviews, and never provided with feedback as to why they were not considered for a position. It is a case of everyone knowing what’s really going on, but everyone else in complete denial about this reality. Only when an individual is provided with the real rationale for rejection by someone in HR – which only happens when someone “slips up” – can a case be made against such firms. And recent stories out of Silicon Valley about men in their 30’s going in for plastic surgery to appear as young as possible so as to avoid being victims of this insidious practice tells an even more tragic story, one which promises no easy solutions.

If you believe you have been a victim of age discrimination, you should consider seeking effective legal help. We at The Cartwright Law Firm have a long track record of aggressive responses to employers who follow clearly illegal practices in hiring and firing based on a worker’s age. Call us today for a free consultation to help determine whether you have a good case.

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