In 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 20,588 charges of age discrimination against employers, up by about 3,000 charges compared to 2004. Although the number is still lower than the year where the agency received the most complaints, which was 24,582 in 2008, it believed that the number of complaints will grow in the future.
This is because there are large numbers of millennials entering the workforce, but many baby boomers don’t seem to be ready to leave it. Older individuals are increasingly staying in the workforce because they don’t have the funds to retire. Although these people tend to have more experience, companies are frequently choosing younger applicants because they are cheaper to employ. Along with the higher cost of employing older individuals, there is a perception, in spite of research showing this is not true, that job performance decreases with age.
Individuals who are 40 years or older are supposed to be protected by the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped ageism in the workplace. A survey completed in 2013 by the AARP showed that two-thirds of respondents between the ages of 45 and 74 had seen or experienced discrimination due to their age.
People are protected from a variety of types of workplace discrimination, including due to their gender, age or religion. Those members of a protected class who feel that they have been unfairly targeted may want to meet with an employment law attorney to determine the recourse that may be available. In some cases, it may be advisable to initiate the process by filing a complaint with the EEOC or the applicable state agency.