Age Discrimination So Brazen, It's Documented in the New York Times

You know something is brazen when the New York Times can publish an article where corporations admit to not hiring anyone over 40 years of age.

The biggest obstacle, experts say, is that most companies are reluctant to retain or hire older workers. At the top of the corporate ladder, executive recruiters are routinely told not to seek anyone over 50, notes Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Similar sentiments, Mr. Cappelli said, can be found across the job spectrum. He points to a batch of evidence. In one survey, one-fourth of companies said they were not inclined to hire older workers. In a research experiment a few years ago, thousands of made-up resumes were sent to employers; younger workers who had the same qualifications as older workers were more than 40 percent more likely to be called in for an interview than someone 50 or older. In an industry survey, a majority of technology companies candidly said they would not hire anyone over 40.

Anyone remember when that was illegal? Oops, it still is! At least the Supreme Court still thinks so:

In a ruling of potential interest for older workers across the country, the Supreme Court made it easier on Thursday for workers to contend that they are being discriminated against by their employers because of their age.

In a 7-to-1 ruling, the court ruled that it is up to the employer to show that action against a worker stems from “reasonable factors other than age.” The question in the case, one of three involving labor relations issued by the court on Thursday, was whether the burden rested on the employer or on an employee bringing a suit.

Now we hear excuses to justify age discrimination instead of lawsuits to stop it. This article does that as well and talks about health care costs and so on. But the answer truly is that age discrimination has been institutionalized in America.

I found a few facts on the statistics of age discrimination but they were a tough find. Now if this was racial discrimination, the outrage would be overwhelming. Why is it that age discrimination, causing a shrinkage in overall income earning years, plus an aging workforce, isn't greeted with the same howl of outrage?



The Health Care Claim Makes no Sense

Health care for Baby Bearing years is costly too. I do not believe it is the health care issue. I believe it has more to do with remaking the workplace society. Veteran employees teach the new hire more than the needed information to get the job done. They teach the new hire about working, about labor laws, about benefits, about saving plans, pensions, OSHA, workman comp issues, grievance filing procedures, etc. The veteran employee teaches the young things that the employer does not want the new hire to know about. So many employers segregate the veteran employees from the freshman employees. Forced retirement, layoffs, etc, ensures employers can get rid of the old and experienced and in with the new naive. I see it all the time. I work alot of temporary positions. The workplace is filled with the young that are unaware of labor laws. They work through lunches, breaks, etc. They accept additional responsibilities without the compensation. They stay late and do not report their overtime. They get hurt at work and do not report the injury for workman compensation. They put up with unsafe and unsanitary conditions because they do not know they have rights.

Can work both ways

Being a Baby Boomer, I find it incredible how blatant hiring practices are.

In my working life, I went from sales, through management, to executive management, and on to owning my own business. I'm proud to say I never used bias in the hiring and assignment criteria regarding any of the protected classes, including age, in my or my company's hiring. In fact I fired one so-called Human Resources Specialist [an oxymoron onto itself] for trying to do so. Strange part, she thought nothing of it; didn't understand why it shouldn't be allowed.

I'm about to start a new company. The reason being after closing my last one after sixteen years, I thought I'd go to work for ten years or so working for someone else, and do what I've always enjoyed the most, Selling. That was a year ago. I'm still not hired. I know what's going on. And the reality is there is no sense in arguing the point. Another tact is necessary to with this challenge. (Read on.)

I have my own personal opinion on what's going on as well. Maybe some of the rest of you who are BB's as well can relate:

In our lives, we have lived and grown through periods where we have seen at least 3 generations come after us. GenX, Y or B2, and now Z. When we grew up in the 50's and 60's, we had a culture where education, growth, accomplishment were the underlying themes to how the US functioned. We had a new national highway system that required higher educations to be part of; we had a new space program that emphasized competitiveness, knowledge, and education. We had sports heroes who happened to play on 'teams', but you never heard them emphasising how they were 'team members' or 'team players'. (Today nearly all those in companies who tout their organizations have no clue what it means to be part of an actual TEAM. It's all buzz words they echo from the latest train seminar they went to.)

We were raised on competitiveness, intelligence, and experimentation. We actually changed the world in a great many ways. The country was progressive. Our society was a model of excellence. We were competitive.

Then along came GenX. If you remember, we couldn't understand why we couldn't motivate them. They became known as the Slackard generation. They also became protected. They invented political correctness, the schools dropped the bar for passing them through, televisions and video games replaced living a real life in a real world. All that counted was that everyone staying out of their face. (I can go on with more details.)

Well, they aged like the rest of us. Now they are in their late 30's, and are the corporate managers making such decisions as we are seeing documented in articles like this one.

But whoa are they. What they don't realize is that there is a generation coming right behind them; and that generation is the children of us Baby Boomers. That new GenY generation were raised with our ethics, methods, competitiveness, drive to question, accomplish and succeed. The X'ers are about to be 'the old ones'. How funny it will be when they find they are laid off and not rehired because of the dirty little secrets of unspoken, baseless policies they instituted.

Personally, if my new business idea flies, I'm contemplating only hiring those over 50. Why? It's simple. I know that as a whole our generation is far more educated and far, far more competitive. We had to really learn principles behind the instruction, our tests were far more stringent, and we weren't 'socially promoted' through the school systems. We either learned or flunked. (How many people do you hear about flunking or repeating a grade any more?) We are also healthier. Go to any athletic club and see who's playing racquetball, squash, handball, the real difficult and demanding sports. It's Boomers. (It doesn't take my athleticism to stay upright on a stairmaster; just a deadened brain without focus.)

Boomers as a whole are far less 'FAT'. Our ingrained socialization included going outside and playing as kids, 'without headphones on'. We played sports, were competitive, and felt good whether we won or lost, didn't make any difference. The fact that we showed up on the field and played hard is what counted. Winning was a celebration, losing was to find out how you could get better and then go do it. Today, they don't even keep scores in most sports for growing kids. They think it's more important that everyone win every game; as if that happens in the world, adult or otherwise......

We didn't grow up drugged-up on Ridlin and all the other pharmaceuticals. Our parents cared enough to give us a whack or three when we needed it, and it worked. The kids that were hyperactive grew out of it. It's normal for many kids to grow through development phases. For the other generations, they don't have the patience to wait for their kids to grow out of anything; it's easier to let some quack dumb them down. It's convenient because both parents work slave hours, and can't take the time to be parents. (That's okay, pharma makes billions and all those investors get a check; except for the kids who are treated that way.)

So where am I going with this? It's simple: Why hire GenX? Who wants that level of dysfunction, laziness, apathy, lacking drive, and poor judgment? And did I mention all that Type II diabetes they bring along due to eating so terribly? No, I don't think so. I'll go with the proven, the experienced, the learned, the accomplished, those who have had the chance to make the rudimentary mistakes earlier in their careers, and now know better and understand the systems better.

So you think there's age discrimination? I think so too. I just think it's time for some push-back. That's the new tact. Funny part is, the law for age discrimination as it reads now, supports my idea.


Well, I feel certainly that ethics and a sense of fairness has flown out the window in recent years. There does seem to be no correlation at all anymore to ability, competence and being hired, keeping the job. So, if someone wants to only hire over 50, fine by me, there is no doubt from what's going on you would have the pick of the cream of the crop since so many other companies are outright discriminating against older workers. Talk about a skills/experience gold mine selling at rock bottom prices at this point. If I were doing a start up, I'd do what you're doing simply because it would probably be outrageously cost effective in terms of getting the bang for the buck.

Can work both ways....reply

I wholeheartedly agree with your post. I too sold my business after 16 years and foolishly thought I could go to work for someone else for the next 10+ years. I even made sure my computer skills were up to speed by taking classes, and making sure I was Internet savvy.

After numerous interviews by "twenty and thirty something" individuals inferring that I can't keep up with the pace (have they ever tried running there own retail business?) or getting the fake smile and hearing that I'm over qualified, I'm still searching for something where I can be of service and use my years of experience instead of being put out to pasture.

The search continues...

Not quite ready to moo...

Age Discrimination

Yes. It happens and rather frequently. However, the offenders often do not know that they are engaged in this activity. Inappropriate behavior and off-hand remarks will sneak up to bite you. As a corporate director for a fortune 500 company, I have been blindsided many times by disparaging remarks made by your management team? The managers don’t realize at the time that they are in a discrimination mode. I detail these likely events in my management book, Wingtips with Spurs. Usually they will ‘get it’ when their depositions start. When you hear the following phrases, stop the offender, offer some education, and hope to goodness no one else heard them. If it happens again with the same person, it may be time to sell the cow. The courts and juries will decide if the remarks are ‘stray comments’ or direct evidence of a discrimination mindset.
• “We need sharp, young people.”
• “We need people who can come in early and stay late.”
• “They’re dinosaurs.”
• “They’re too old to learn something new”
• “We want employees who are young, lean, and mean.”
• “They wouldn’t be able to keep up with the fast company
• “We’re looking for longevity.”
• “We need some young blood in this department.”
If a manager allows a culture that tolerates remarks such as the ones above, then the manager will probably get what he or she is asking for. The great leader will remind management on a frequent basis that they should never forget silence is often the best answer. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR Author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today’s Business Leaders

Age Descrimination and Health Insurance

Isn't it interesting how little appears on the internet regarding age descrimination?

One unreported factor is health insurance. A health insurance program director once told me just how the age discrimination occurs:

"Did you know it costs an employer twice as much to cover a 50-year old than a 35-year old? And with each successive year the cost get even greater."

So when you consider that the average policy is costing a company 5 to 10 K/Year it all begins to fall into place.

Fire older Americans and replace them with younger foriegn workers (e.g., H1B's). Sometimes the companies don't even have to pay health insurance, Social Security (their 6.5% part anyway) etc. because of the H!B's "dual citizenship."

That explains the recent firing of US workers at Neilsen (June 2008) and replace the with "US-based workers" (e.g., foriegn H1Bs).

I think it is time to hang some politicians from the hightest trees in our respective neighborhoods.

We have been sold out!!!

Let the 2nd American Revolution start right now, as far as I'm concerned.

The Solution: the "New Agenda for America."

Age Discrimination So

It's easy to understand the source of this discrimination and I don't think this will stop any time soon, employers will always search for younger workers. I think the Government should do something about this and come up with some kind of motivations for employers that hire older people this way these people would benefit from considerable higher hiring chances.
Kim, PEO consultant

I guess the benefit of experience

is no longer enough- even though these older workers are likely to work so much smarter than the younger workers- saving the company FAR more than their wages are worth.

Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.

Affirmative Action on Age Discrimiation

I think there is a good argument that age discrimiation is at least as ingrained in American society as race discrimation. Therefore why doesn't the federal government require the same koind of afirmative action to elimiate age discrimation as they do for racial disrimation? I see this a the civil rights issue of the 21 century. let's start a movement!

goes unchallenged too

When it comes to age discrimination, it's ingrained. Not only assumed but often glorified! It's almost a "lynch" mentality against older workers.

Literally I saw a major Progressive radio talk show person try to claim the answer to our unemployment problem should be to force those over 50 into early retirement in order to "make room" for jobs for younger people.

Believe it or not, this was cheered in the left as a "great idea"!

I was horrified and disgusted that no one even seemed to get that was older worker apartheid.

Instead people just said oh that's just great, let's create a massive age discrimination program!

I mean can you imagine someone presenting a "solution" to the unemployment problem which say, banned all black people from getting a job in order to "open up" those jobs to "other people".

That is what this guy said!

We also have citizenship status discrimination going on in the U.S. and this is against U.S. citizens as well as perm residents in some occupations in this country. So, I believe we need a "U.S. citizens preferred" program with the belief that a nation-states responsibility is to first and foremost provide income, job security to it's citizens (you can include perm residents in here as well for the most part)