EOC data shows fewer reported instances of work related age discrimination; however, some say the current numbers are still alarming.
A recent report by Time’s Money.com shows that federal charges of age discrimination are again at pre-recession levels. According to the news source, new data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows that complaints filed with the agency under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act in 2014 are down to 20,588, which is nearly 4,000 charges less than the peak number filed in 2008.
Source: Money.com Report “Pop Goes the Age Discrimination Bubble”
“…age-related complaints filed with the federal government fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2014, and the percentage of cases found to be reasonable have been trending lower for two decades.”
Despite the shown declines, experts say age discrimination remains a serious issue. According to Dallas, Texas based employment attorney Carson Croft of the Eberstein & Witherite law firm, “the drop in number may show signs of a stabilizing economy, but it is still no cause for celebration. So many aging Americans continue to be negatively impacted by age discrimination in more ways than one.” Even at pre-recession levels, the most recent number of EEOC charges filed is still higher than those shown for years prior to the recession.
Age discrimination is one of the most difficult types of employment discrimination to prove, affecting thousands of workers in the U.S. each year. Research also suggests that when perceived, it impacts the health of people who believe they have suffered from it more severely than victims of perceived sexism or racism.
Source: Huffington Post Report “Perceived Age Discrimination Worse For Health Than Perceived Racism And Sexism, Study Finds”
“The researchers found that older adults who believed they were victims of weight discrimination or age discrimination suffered significantly worse physical and emotional health and greater declines in health compared with those who did not report experiencing such discrimination…In contrast, perceived discrimination related to race, sex, ancestry and sexual orientation was largely unrelated to health declines in older adults.”
Says Croft who has followed the Health and Retirement research, “discrimination in any form is harmful; however, as this study points out the isolation factor puts older Americans who suffer from age discrimination at risk of chronic, severe loneliness that can lead to a range of serious health complications.”
For ageing adults who feel they have suffered age discrimination, there are resources available that can help them overcome related challenges. This includes legal options for ensuring that a discriminating employer is held accountable for their actions. The EEOC outlines on its website explicit details about federal protections afforded to people age 40 and over who have faced discrimination on the job or in applying for a job.
The agency states that under the ADEA “it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training.” It is also expressly stated that retaliation for opposing discriminatory practices or filing a complaint over a violation is prohibited under the law.
Filing a charge with the agency is an option individuals have when they want to take legal action over age discrimination or any type of employment discrimination matter handled by the EEOC. Contacting an employment law attorney in one’s state can also be helpful for those who need help with the process, or would like to discuss their options with a legal expert in these matters that relate to their specific case.