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Study highlights age discrimination for workers over 40

A new study says more than one out of every five U.S. workers over the age of 40 has experienced age discrimination in the workplace. The survey says the issue is increasingly serious for both employees and businesses.

The study surveyed 400 full-time workers age 40 and above who said they've experienced workplace discrimination due to their age, which most said took place after they turned 51. However, only 40% said they filed a complaint.

Main takeaways from the study

The Hiscox Ageism in the Workplace Study reports four main findings:

  • 44% said that they or someone they knew had experienced age discrimination in the workplace
  • 36% feel that their age has prevented them from getting a job since turning 40
  • 26% feel there is a significant risk that they could lose their current jobs due to their age
  • 21% said they faced age discrimination themselves

Ageism complaints have risen dramatically

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says 18,376 workers filed age-related discrimination charges in 2017, and the number of complaints by workers 65 and older has doubled since 1990. Employers have paid more than $810 million in settlements from 2010 to 2018. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids discrimination based on age for every aspect of employment, including:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Pay
  • Job assignments
  • Promotions
  • Layoffs
  • Training
  • Benefits

Identifying and eliminating age discrimination in the workplace

The study urges employers to protect against ageism through a three-step process: Prevent, detect and mitigate. Hiscox said its research shows 62% of managers reported they had no formal training in age discrimination over the past 12 months. Attorneys here in California who are experienced in employment law can help companies update and adopt policies that prevent discrimination. They can also help employees who feel they have been discriminated against because of their age.

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