Age Discrimination, Brazen, Rampant and Impossible to Fight

Check out this Age Discrimination story:

When Ben Sims, 57, showed up earlier this year for a job interview at a company in Richardson, Tex., he noticed the hiring manager — several decades his junior — falter upon spotting him in the lobby.

“Her face actually dropped,” said Mr. Sims, who was dressed in a business suit befitting his 25-year career in human resources at I.B.M.

Later, in her office, after several perfunctory questions, the woman told Mr. Sims she did not believe the job would be “suitable” for him. And barely 10 minutes later, she stood to signal that the interview was over.

How many know this story? Literally, on the phone, assumptions are made about my age and I hear I should talk to "so and so company" for the workers are "all my age".

Even more disgusting so called experts write brazen discriminatory statements in their so called analysis of the situation.

To make matters worse, discrimination laws are such that it is almost impossible to sue these companies.

Considering we now have an entire demographic, a massive talent pool being laid to waste due to discrimination in this country, isn't it about time that all workers demand change?

If politicians and executives were confronted with such bias, maybe then this issue would get the attention it deserves.

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On 12/29/2006, 30 minutes

On 12/29/2006, 30 minutes before the CPA firm was closing for the New Years holiday, HR walked in and told my wife her job of 18 years no longer exists. She was 54 years old.

She tried and tried to find a job, no luck. So we spent a few thousand on an HR certification from Villanova, still no job. When she was younger she never had a problem getting a job. She had a lot of experience and could do management, marketing and everything in between.

Finally in September 2007 she found a job but at half the pay. She has worked at the company since then but has never received a raise. To make matters worse, they moved her job to a different location. Now instead of making half the pay, she must also make a 60 mile round trip commute.

So what was different for my wife's job search? She had the same skill set, in fact she had more experience and the only difference was that she was in her mid-fifties. The last time she searched for a job she was in her thirties.

Yep, I believe age discrimination is alive and well. But try and prove it.

Maybe we should move here: "But the global downturn hasn’t hurt the world’s second fastest-growing economy as badly as other countries." Where is here you may ask? It is in India. I feel like I am living in a dumb and dumber movie. We moved so many jobs away and now there is nothing for us? Is that dumb or dumber?

I've found the only way to get a raise

Is to get fired or laid off, and then negotiate with the next company.
Executive compensation is inversely proportional to morality and ethics.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

EEOC National Awareness campaign would help

I am an executive recruiter in her 50s. Since I do most of my work over the telephone, many of the clients and candidates speaking with me are unaware of my age. I gather that I sound like I am in my 30s.

The advice given to older job seekers is generally unhelpful because the system (applying for jobs online) makes it so easy for employers to follow their prejudices. 50-something candidates are ruled out by folks who barely read their resumes or cover letters.

What is needed is a very public EEOC ad campaign that has executives calling their HR people in and asking if the company is a risk for age discrimination law suits. If this were done in a large national campaign it would work. I saw a miracle happen in the 80s when companies got religion about sex discrimination--and it was all about money and losing law suits. The EEOC scares companies because it costs the victim nothing to file the complaint.

The amount of blantant age discrimination that I see going on is incredible. IMO most of it is about the fact that managers in their 30s are literally afraid to manage people older than themselves. The method they use to get around the law is by sticking to the number of years of experience--not age. So many clients will rule out candidates with 'too much experience," and claim that age is not the problem. Many times the reasons given for not wanting to hire someone in their 50s, make no sense. "We want someone who will stay around," says an HR Manager. Does she really think that a 28 year old is going to stay around longer than a 58 year old? People in their 50s are far less apt to move than people in their 20s. This explanation is nothing more than an excuse.

This is illegal but HR people and senior managers are not feeling threatened about age discrimination suits the way they are about race and sex discrimination. Few realize that "diversity" is about age as much as anything else.

Culture and Age

There was -- years ago -- an assumption that women didn't need the paycheck as much as the man "with a family to support." The woman, after all, probably had a husband and (maybe children). She would need more time off if her children got sick. Nobody pointed out that men also took time off for emergencies. That all changed, though not without collateral damage (women vs. men competing, resentment of preference for veterans because they were mostly men, and, yes, older men vs. ambitious young women).

Now we have old competing with young for the shrinking pool of good jobs. Older people are seen as inappropriate for some jobs --corporate image, product placement, and, yes, overqualified. Young folks may have better geek skills, while older people wanting junior level jobs may be seen as "just after a paycheck" or perhaps a source of tension when supervised by younger managers. Then the argument "they;ll just work a few years and then retire," while younger workers may make a long-term commitment to the company (who really believes that one?)

Yes, take a few years off your age if you want to -- but you will need a skilful preparation of resume (suggestion: get rid of that "class of 1972" on your degree.)

At 74, I have a decent retirement, but still enjoy working. Over the past 15 years, I found self-employment works best for me, but this takes a certain discipline and tolerance for risk. My advice for professional folks who were laid off is "get some colleagues and start competing with the outfit that fired you." I did this way back in the day. We did this with a borrowed office, business cards, a phone line, and brass cojones. It was not easy, but our contacts were fresh, and with the high (7%) unemployment rate of that day, could find folks with good resumes at 40-plus of Washington who were more than willing to commit on spec to proposals. We did capabilities packages, incorporated, and started making the rounds of clients who knew what we individually could do.

I know it is not as easy as I make it sound, and operating capital is problematic, but my stint as a consultant led to my being offered a job that became a career. After retirement from that place, I hooked up with a university and local corporations and wrote grant applications that worked.

None of this was easy, but it will work for some. It does not address the systemic problem of age-ism, but we have one thing going for us -- an understanding of our respective fields, and perhaps some constructive cynicism. We can't turn back the clock, but we can band together because we respect experience and know the system.

And yes, EEOC complaints help systemically. After all, we used to say "She'll just work a few years, get pregnant, and quit." That changed. "Experienced" can't just be a code word for "old." Maybe we'll just work a few years and die, but I knew executives who died at 40. We need to work with what we've got, and that includes the law.

Frank T.

How can I change my legal age?

I lost my job through a mass corporate layoff at the end of 2009. 6 months (and a few hundred resumes) later I have yet to be asked to even interview for a job.
At 53, I look much, much younger. They call me 'young man' when I am checking out at the grocery store. I have applied for jobs where I have friends in high places, and still can't get an interview (with perfect qualifications, to boot). This is a problem that is affecting hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of job applicants. Absolutely nothing is being done about it and there is no recourse against a company in their discriminatory hiring practices. Good luck in proving it and they know it. HR people are generally older people themselves, so to disqualify more than half of the working population makes no sense whatsoever. I have equal computer skills of any 23 year old, except better. I have actually used these computer skills for 15 years in a REAL business setting, versus a classroom.
I have added millions of dollars of revenue for the companies I have worked for, never show up late, never call in sick. I can spell and put together a full, complete sentence. I can write a clear, concise business plan using BIG words. My 25 year old former colleagues wrote as if they had an 8th grade education.
Somebody please explain why I, the aforementioned person, am being denied a job, let alone an interview.
Corporate America obviously hasn't seen the statistics on the aging population, and apparently doesn't care about revenue growth, excellent communicators, etc. Do they really believe a company full of good looking, 25 year olds is going to equal optimal growth, or give the company a young, fresh look? Diversity is the only thing that works, and an older worker/mentor is the smart man's formula for success. I remember somebody telling me I was getting old when I was can't win.

age discrimination is rampant in this country

I'll try to write up a post soon, digging out some statistics. In the interim, officially they cannot ask you your age in an interview and remove dates from your graduation from college (if you have higher degrees and so on) and remove dates from experience and shorten up the resume.

It's ridiculous. If age discrimination was practiced in Congress politicians might get on this for almost all of them would no longer have a job. That includes Obama for at his age, he would be discriminated against in the private sector on age.


The answer is...they want em young, dumb and cheap...leads to more and bigger executive bonuses!