As medical advances are causing people in California and around the world to live longer, society must find ways to financially support a large segment of the population that is steadily increasing in numbers. While one way for older individuals to support themselves is to continue to work later in life, many individuals begin claiming Social Security benefits at the age of 62.
According to numerous studies, a major reason that many people may not continue working past the popular retirement age may be due to age discrimination at work. For example, a study of individuals over the age of 50 who were employed with the same company for more than five years found that half were mandated to leave their jobs. The reasons were due to layoffs, the closing of a business, dissatisfaction or unexpected retirement. Approximately 9 percent left involuntarily as a result of health or family concerns.
The study found that only about 10 percent of the individuals who had to leave their jobs were able to find another one at the same pay grade. Further, those who were forced to leave their jobs against their will had a significantly lower household income than those who did not. The problem of ageism and age discrimination is so widespread that the World Health Organization has even recognized the issue as being one of its main priorities.
Workplace discrimination due to age is illegal. However, there are still employers who mistreat workers due to their age. In some cases, for example, workplace discrimination may result in a qualified older employee being passed over for a promotion or being let go. In addition, some employers may even attempt to retaliate against workers who report discrimination. An attorney may review a case to determine if a person has a valid case against his or her employer. The attorney may then assist by filing a lawsuit against the employer.