Date: May 9, 2022
Age discrimination concerns are discussed following the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ prediction that more older people will be in the workforce in the future. TELG’s Tom Harrington spoke with Kiplinger about common patterns in age discrimination cases and gave some advice for people facing it.
"Going quietly is generally not a good idea."
The Long, Hard Road of Fighting Age Bias in the Workplace
A wave of pandemic-related early retirements may be about to reverse itself. Instead of older Americans fleeing the labor force, more are expected to participate in it over the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects nearly 40% of adults ages 65 to 69 and nearly 25% of people ages 70 to 74 will still be working by 2030, up from 33% and 19%, respectively, in 2020. Some of those workers will be returning from early retirement, continuing the prepandemic trend of Americans working past age 65.
But labor participation rates tell only part of the story. Many older Americans also face age bias in the workplace even though the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discriminating against workers 40 and older. More than 14,000 claims of age discrimination were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in fiscal year 2020, and 78% of older workers reported seeing or experiencing age discrimination on the job, a 2021 AARP survey found.
Age discrimination benefits no one, including employers. The U.S. lost out on potentially $850 billion in economic growth in 2018 because of discrimination against older workers, says AARP. That figure could grow to $3.9 trillion by 2050. For older workers, discrimination is often devastating, but recognizing the signs and knowing your rights can be empowering. Although there are risks to fighting back and filing a complaint, “going quietly is generally not a good idea,” says Tom Harrington, a principal at the Washington, D.C.-based Employment Law Group, which handles discrimination cases nationwide.