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Is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act working?

The federal government took actions back in 1967 to ensure that older Americans, including those here in Texas, are able to find gainful employment regardless of their age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act as modified to remove the upper age limit protection of 65 turns 50 years old this year. The question is whether it is working.

The simple answer is that it "sort of" works. In 2016, approximately 20,857 claims of age discrimination were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That might not seem like a lot considering the number of people employed across the country, but that number only includes the people who actually filed a complaint. Many more choose not to file claims for a variety of reasons.

The law has failed to resolve two major issues. The first is the stereotype that older workers are not as productive as younger workers. The second is that older job applicants have a more difficult time being hired. One study conducted in 2002 and 2003 by the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University documented that an older applicant is 40 percent less likely to be hired than a younger applicant when all other factors are relatively equal between them.

Even though instances of age discrimination appear to have declined, there are still challenges for older workers across the country. Texas residents who believe they suffered from discrimination either at work or during the hiring process based on their ages would more than likely benefit from speaking with an attorney. With the fact that the average of the country's population is rising, this type of discrimination should be addressed and violations dealt with as necessary.

Source: Forbes, "The Age Discrimination Law At 50: A Mixed Bag", Chris Farrell, Feb. 14, 2017

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