For many Colorado residents, dreams of retirement have fallen by the wayside as the economy continues a slow pace of recovery. More and more workers are having to work past the age that they had planned to retire, and many see no light at the end of that tunnel. Recent statistics suggest that these workers may face a sizable hurdle in the form of age discrimination.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, reports that age discrimination complaints stand in 2012 at a rate that is 43 percent higher than it was in 2000. At the same time, the rate of workers from the age of 65 to 69 sits at approximately 33 percent of the overall workforce. In 1993, only 20 percent of workers fell within the same age range. It is unclear whether there are more complaints being filed simply because there are more older Americans within the workplace, or if there is a deeper issue that should be addressed.
For workers who believe that they have been subjected to age discrimination, it can be difficult to prove those suspicions in a court of law. Workers are urged to make an effort to note who is present at any meeting or interaction in which the worker's age is called into question. In addition, if a worker is terminated or laid off, he or she is entitled to a list of all other affected workers, their job titles and their ages.
Access to this information is provided under the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). This law was put into place to protect workers over the age of 40 from losing their job or being denied fair hiring assessment based upon their age. However, recent legislation has made it more difficult for workers to prove such claims, Leaving older workers in Colorado and elsewhere tasked with looking out for their own interests and gathering the necessary evidence to support a claim of age discrimination.
Source: Reuters, "How to fight age discrimination," Mark Miller, June 13, 2013