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Was There Any Age Discrimination at Getting a Job?

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What do you do if you didn't get a job that you were fully qualified for and wanted, and you think that age discrimination is the reason why? It's difficult to decide whether or not you were the victim of age discrimination. Fortunately, the climate on age is changing as employers discover that older employees have some advantages over young employees. Older employees are more reliable, are absent less, have fewer drug- and alcohol-related problems, work steadier with fewer emotional problems and are less likely to quit.

However, that said, age and other types of discrimination still occur. You can suspect it if any of the following occurs:

You pass all of the required qualifying tests and are still refused (or not offered) a job.

You don't get an opportunity to take the tests.

You take the tests and are sure you did well. You're told that you didn't pass, but are denied proof.

Your credentials are more than adequate, but you're told your education is inadequate, or you lack the necessary formal education.

You noted during the interview that everyone in the company is under.

You check around and discover that the firm never hires anyone over

You're asked to take a physical exam before a job is offered, or some other test that has no relationship to the demands of the job.

During the interview, and before you've been made an offer, you're asked how old you are.

You unfortunately reveal during the interview that you have a minor handicap, but that it doesn't interfere with your ability to do the job.

You mention in passing during the interview that you're a member of the American Association of Retired Persons, a political action group, or some other political or religious group. D To discourage you from accepting the job, the employer falsely tells you that you won't be covered by their benefit programs because your spouse is covered on his or her job.

Older women executives and professionals run into both age and sex discrimination, although it is much better and certainly less obvious than it was even five or ten years ago. Women and minorities are protected against discrimination by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967, and the Equal Pay Act. If older women and minority members feel they've been discriminated against, they have advocacy groups that are willing to take up the cudgel on their behalf.

Where to go for help if you think you've been discriminated against. Discuss your situation first with an advocacy group. Don't go to a lawyer and spend your own hard-earned cash. Many counties have a Family Service League which will help. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is willing to give you advice and help, either at their local office in your area, or you can write to the Commission's main office at 2401 E. St., NW, Washington, DC 20506.

The American Civil Liberties Union has offices all over and can give you help if they think you have a worthy suit. The National Legal Aid and Defender Association can refer you to attorneys who specialize in age and other discrimination suits. The National Employment Law Project also provides attorney referral, as will a local law school and your local county bar association. And the AARP can give you help if you happen to be over 55.

All that said, the record on suits for age discrimination is abysmal. The agencies that are supposed to pursue discrimination suits are understaffed, and the suits languish in the courts. If the suit does finally get to trial, the full proof that age discrimination has occurred appears to rest with you, the plaintiff. The legal process may drag on for months and years. In the meantime, you need to have an income from a job. So- continue your job search.
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