Many older workers in California experience job discrimination when they are looking for work. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that job seekers over the age of 55 are unemployed for an average of 54.3 weeks. On the other hand, job seekers younger than 55 usually spend about 28.2 weeks looking for work, a full five months less time than it takes older workers to land a new job.
Age discrimination in the workplace does not only affect older workers who are looking for entry-level jobs. Professional workers with great references and a lot of experience in their field can find job searches more difficult once they get to a certain age. Many older workers are forced to take jobs that pay a fraction of their former salaries just so that they can get health and retirement benefits.
Some employers directly discriminate against older workers by calling their companies ‘young startups.” Employers may favor younger job applicants because they believe that younger workers have more energy and excitement about the company. Older workers can also face prejudice because employers believe that they are nearing retirement. In reality, retaining an older worker is not any harder than retaining a younger one. A recent study found that 58 percent of Millennials expect that they will leave their current jobs in the next three years.
Age discrimination in employment is common, but it is not legal. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers who are over the age of 40 from discrimination at work. If an older worker believes that they were turned down for a job or laid off because of their age, an attorney may be able to help the worker file a workplace discrimination claim.