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As boomers age, more workplace age discrimination claims expected

In the coming years, millions of individuals considered part of the famed baby boomer generation will reach retirement age. However, for many baby boomers retirement is not an option. While some must continue working out of financial necessity, others will choose to continue working for personal reasons. As a result, a record number of aging employees will remain in the American workforce.

While many employers welcome the addition of baby boomer workers who bring experience and knowledge often lost on younger generations, others are not as welcoming. In fact, during 2012 alone, more than 22,000 Americans filed claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission related to workplace age discrimination. Such claims, however, are historically difficult to both prove and prosecute.

Other forms of workplace discrimination waged against women or minority populations are often backed with hard statistical data. Similar data related to salary and numbers, however, are not as concrete or telling when it comes to age discrimination. Many acts of workplace age discrimination are subtle in nature and it's therefore difficult to prove that such discrimination is in fact occurring.

The sheer number of baby boomers, however, has prompted some researchers to attempt to quantify and measure age discrimination. In a recent study, researchers at Princeton University asked students to view a video depicting men who were 25, 45 or 75 years old. The results of the study show that a comment made by all three men was only judged as being negative in cases where students viewed the 75-year-old man. Studies such as this point to the subtle ways in which younger individuals often discriminate against older individuals.

Texas residents who believe they have been the victim of age, sex, racial or religious discrimination in the workplace may choose to discuss their case with an attorney.

Source: Star Tribune, "Researcher seek test for age discrmination in workplace," Michael Winerip, Aug. 3, 2013

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