Despite greater public attention to corporate diversity, California workers continue to face discrimination on the job. In 1967, Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, protecting workers over the age of 40 from being denied jobs, promotions and opportunities due to their ages. However, while the law has been in effect for over 50 years, age discrimination continues to rear its head in the workplace and often goes unreported.
Research from the AARP indicates that only 3 percent of workers over 40 who have experienced age discrimination on the job have filed formal complaints. At the same time, nearly 60 percent of workers over 45 said that they had personally witnessed or experienced age discrimination. While reports often rely on the charges filed by federal and state agencies to track workplace discrimination rates, these official complaints reflect only a portion of the discriminatory actions that workers encounter on the job.
Even so, workplace discrimination charges made to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and its state counterparts are on the rise. In 2008, they reached a high of 24,000 complaints, a trend that has failed to dissipate as the financial crisis has lessened. Other indications of age discrimination on the job have also been spotted by journalists; many tech companies have purchased targeted digital job ads to be shown to millennial audiences. However, the most common complaints speak to job loss with 55 percent of all charges referring to discriminatory firing.
Workers over 40 have a right to make a living free from discriminatory behavior due to their age. Older employees who have been subjected to workplace discrimination may wish to consult with an employment lawyer about the next steps they can take, including filing complaints or pursuing further legal action.