A study led by an economist at the University of California, Irvine, has found employers may be discriminating against older individuals who are applying for jobs. The researchers sent out 40,000 resumes applying for actual jobs. The resumes that were sent out were identical for the same job type with the exception of the ages of the applicants.
The economists found that the rates of contact from employers were different depending on the applicant’s age. Younger individuals had a significantly higher call back rate for an interview when compared to applicants who were older. Middle aged applicants were less likely to be called back than younger applicants, and older applicants were even less likely to be contacted than middle aged applicants.
Discriminating against people at or over the age of 40 was made illegal more than 50 years ago with the passage of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. However, employers still engage in age discrimination, but they often are not obvious about it. Organizations are not going to say that older people should not apply for job openings, but they may still filter out these individuals when looking for applicants to reach out to for interviews. Some organizations have internal protocols in place that state that applicants should have limited amounts of experience or only have been out of college for a few years.
Workplace discrimination isn’t just limited to hiring practices. Discrimination in terminations, promotions, raises and giving people opportunities is also against the law. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who report discrimination. Those who believe that they have been unfairly targeted in this manner may want to meet with an attorney to discuss their options.