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Change in perspective on workers could lead to age discrimination

Sometimes a person in Belleville can spend years or even decades at a company only to find the company is "downsizing" and has laid them off. Especially if the person is an older worker, they may find that it is hard to obtain a new job following such a layoff. When hiring workers some companies advertise that they are looking for people with "adaptability." However, this can be interpreted as they are looking for younger workers, and may even constitute age discrimination.

According to a survey conducted by AARP, just under 65 percent of workers reported they had either witnessed or been subjected to age discrimination at work. Moreover, another study reports that when it comes to hiring, older applicants were less likely than younger ones to receive call backs. This was particularly true if the applicant was an older woman.

Part of this may have to do with a shift in employers' perspective of how to operate their business. Decades ago, employers generally focused on their workers' skills, rather than focusing on a worker's flexibility or adaptability. However, now employers seem to focus more on simply seeking temporary solutions for a problem, focusing on elements such as having "energy" rather than focusing on skills. Even if it is at an unconscious level, many of those in hiring positions may think that an older worker does not have the desired entrepreneurial spirit. There may also make the assumption that older workers will cost a company more money.

It may seem like if a company only expects a worker to stay with them for a few years and then move on, whether that worker is young or old shouldn't really matter. However, if an employer removes skills from the hiring process and focus more on personality, it may have the effect of being prejudicial against older employees.

If an older employee believes they have been the victim of age discrimination either in layoffs or in the hiring process, it can be very damaging on a personal, financial and professional level. Because age discrimination claims can be legally complicated to prove, those who want to take legal action may want to do so with the help of an attorney who understands the law and can advocate for their client's case.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Are you too old to find work?," Ilana Gershon and Noah Berlatsky, Sept. 18, 2017

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