Sunday, September 2, 2012

Too Young To Experience Age Discrimination? Maybe Not…

When exactly does age discrimination begin to creep into the workplace? A recent survey of 900 senior level executives by career counseling firm Gray Hair Management found that age discrimination for mid and senior level management positions can begin just after age 40.  24 percent of these executives knew of cases in their respective companies in which they believed men and women in their 40’s had been passed over for promotions solely due to their ages.  A surprising 73 percent of these executives believed that they themselves had missed job opportunities because of age discrimination.

Age discrimination has been unlawful in the U.S. since 1967. Work experience is of great importance, but over 80 percent of the executives surveyed responded that experience works only to a certain point. Then, in their opinion, age plays more of a role in hiring than experience. Over that past decade, especially during the economic downturn, many mid-level managers found themselves staring at unemployment for the first time after working decades for the same company. North Carolina has been hit especially hard by imported goods, which have virtually ended textile and furniture manufacturing in the state.

Mid-career workers have the most difficult time finding new positions, and when they do, it is at a substantially reduced rate of pay and benefits. Unfortunately, companies looking to cut costs often target long-time workers that have seniority and higher pay levels. Buzz words such as “staff reductions”, “cost management plan“corporate reorganization” or “job eliminations” are often used. Then they hire replacement workers at much lower pay levels. 

If you believe that you have been subjected to age discrimination, you have to file a charge with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within either 180 or 300 days of the unlawful act.  However, you should consider consulting with an experienced employment attorney prior to filing with the EEOC.  Why? Because the EEOC will not act as your advocate; an attorney will.

For more information on the EEOC, you can visit its website by clicking here.

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