Fired for Being Old?

  • Fighting Back in a Tough Job Market

    When unemployment rates are at record highs, employers are particularly selective about which employees they keep on their payrolls. But while discrimination against people of a particular age group is illegal, it may still be increasing, notes The Wall Street Journal. In this tight job market, age bias lawsuits have increased. We’ve collected some pretty serious stories of age discrimination, as well as some pertinent information for those who think they might be victims. Photo Credit: neovain
    The Statistics
  • The Statistics

    As a result of stock market losses and shrinking retirement savings, older Americans have had to return to work or retire later than expected. About 20% of the workforce is 55 or older, compared with 13% in 1999, the Journal reports. Younger workers are experiencing bias as well. Age-discrimination allegations against employers are up 29% to a record 24,582 just last year, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Photo Credit: boliston
    Older Workers, Shrinking Opportunities
  • Older Workers, Shrinking Opportunities

    Age discrimination is illegal when it comes to hiring, promotion and layoff decisions, according to the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, but it still slips through the cracks as one of the more acceptable practices for some employers, according to some reports. The oldest of the baby boomer generation are in their early 60s, but many still want to work or are seeking jobs, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. “It's not surprising that a greater number of older people are alleging discrimination," David Grinberg, a spokesman for the EEOC told the Journal, however. Older workers tend to get paid more than younger ones, after all. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Being Too Young
  • Being Too Young

    There have been some complaints of discrimination against young job seekers and employees. In one case, a 25-year-old hired as vice president of credit card operations at Paramus, N.J.-based Bergen Commercial Bank was fired after the company discovered his age, reported Time Magazine. In another case, a 31-year-old whose "voice sounded too young" was fired, being told that clients would rather speak with someone older, according to the American Association for Justice. Photo Credit: kalandrakas
    Accepting Discrimination?
  • Accepting Discrimination?

    "Older workers are laid off in greater numbers in an economic downturn due to stereotypes that they are not as productive and cost more," AARP Foundation attorney Laurie McCann told Kiplinger. According to research by AARP and, between 80% and 95% of those over 50 think that age bias is a fact of life. It doesn’t have to be, however. If you feel you’ve been the victim of this kind of discrimination, there are steps you can take. Photo Credit: pedrosimoes
    Burden of Proof
  • Burden of Proof

    Age bias could be a difficult thing to prove. In order to win a case against a company for age bias, you may have to show that your former employer fired you solely based on your age. That means your case may not fly if there are other contributing reasons why you were fired that aren’t directly related to your age, AARP reports. For example, if you suspect you were let go because of your age, you might have to demonstrate that you were as or even more productive than younger colleagues who weren’t fired. Photo Credit: walknboston
    Blatant Discrimination
  • Blatant Discrimination

    In one obvious case of age discrimination, a teacher was interrupted in class by administrators asking her age. Shortly after, when it was time to decide which contracts to renew, the teacher was denied tenure. Her principal said she preferred to hire younger teachers and did in fact hire four who were in their 20s, according to the EEOC. In another case, 30 workers out of 31 laid off from the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in upstate New York were over 40. A group of those laid off sued the company for violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, PBS reported. As a result, the Supreme Court ruled that when older workers are particularly affected by employment moves, the employer itself has to prove why their decisions were reasonable and not just about age. Photo Credit: pieterjanviaene
    Questionable Demotion
  • Questionable Demotion

    It’s not unheard of for older workers to be assigned to lower-paying jobs. In one case earlier this year, insurance company employee Jack Gross sued his employer, FBL Financial Services, for demoting him. Initially, he was awarded $47,000 in pay he should have received, according to the Christian Science Monitor. That case is currently being retried under an order by the Supreme Court. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Filing a Claim
  • Filing a Claim

    If you are thinking of filing a claim that an employer fired you, demoted you or otherwise took away responsibilities or benefits because of your age, the first thing you should to is contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The Wall Street Journal says. To find an office near you, visit or call (800) 669-4000. Photo Credit: gregoryjameswalsh
    Fairness in Hiring
  • Fairness in Hiring

    There are a number of employers who have promised to adhere to practices that do not discriminate against specific age groups, which could be good for both old and young job seekers. The AARP provides listings from large national employers on its Web site. The organization has also compiled a list of the best employers for workers over 50. Photo Credit: Getty Images
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