Job applicants can face discrimination due to their gender, race, religion, age, and other protected characteristics. Often, employers are so secretive about ageism that prospective employees who are affected do not even realize it is occurring. Also, it might be quite obvious to someone who gets declined when they feel they are well qualified for a good opportunity. This does not only apply to applicants who are 60 years old and older. How are job candidates impacted by ageism, and what can be done about it?
It is quite common for older workers to be concerned about age discrimination when they start job searches, and with good reason. When they are able to secure employment, the comments and treatment some of them have to deal with can affect them negatively.
A report by the AARP revealed that 90 percent of employees who are prematurely pressured into retiring never earn as much money if they are able to re-enter the workforce afterwards. It also showed that as many as three out of five older employers have directly experienced or witnessed ageism in the workplace. On top of that, close to 25 percent of workers ages 45 years old and up heard negative comments regarding their ages from supervisors and colleagues. Older employees can face several problems at work, including fewer job opportunities, lower pay, and poor treatment.
Companies that want to have a more youthful culture employ certain practices to screen out older job applicants. Some will not even hire people who are older than 40 years old. This is often seen when job postings have words like “entry-level,” or “recent college graduates encouraged to apply.” Some will only reach out through campus recruiting, and do not post openings on their websites or job boards.
Hiring managers look for the most relevant, current experience that relates to job descriptions, and they will also look for certain words in resumes and cover letters that match up with it. In fact, they use applicant tracking systems that automatically do this for them. Here are a few more tips for updating resumes and cover letters:
- Do not include long-ago dates that call attention to your age.
- It is no longer necessary to mention that you have excellent references; the employer will ask you for them if they want them.
- Place your education at the bottom, and remove the dates.
- It is not necessary to include your full address. Put your full name, email, city, state, and phone up top in the contact information section.
There are plenty of other suggestions for applying for jobs in today’s market. Job boards have a lot of information about this, and you can also look for webinars that teach these skills.
Can I Sue for Age Discrimination?
Most employees out there are too wise to blatantly show their ageism when advertising open positions, so it can be challenging to take legal action against them. However, it is possible.
The statute of limitations to file an age discrimination claim in Pennsylvania is 180 days following the last incidence of discrimination. The deadline might be extended to 300 days if a state or local agency enforces an anti-discrimination law. To file a case in federal court, you need to first contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This agency will then investigate the allegations and possibly provide a Right-to-Sue letter. There is also the option of bringing the suit to state court, and this can happen with companies that have 20 or fewer employees.
As a guideline, these suits can take anywhere from a couple of months to a few years to reach resolution, and the time frames are based on the amount of evidence and if the employer is willing to settle instead of going to trial. That can add a year or more to the case.
If you believe that you are facing work-related age discrimination, it is best not to quit your job. Use this time to gather as much evidence as you can, including dates and times of the alleged discrimination. Also include where it occurred, who was involved, and who may have witnessed what happened. See if the company manual outlines an age discrimination policy, and follow the reporting procedures as they are written. They may instruct employees to contact the HR Department immediately, and it may also be wise to contact an experienced employment attorney at this time as well.
Philadelphia Employment Attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Can Help You With Your Age Discrimination Case
The workplace is no place for any kind of discrimination that prevents you from getting hired. If you have experienced age discrimination at work, one of our experienced Philadelphia employment attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. can help. Call us at 215-569-1999 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Pennsauken, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.