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Older Workers Want ADEA Strengthened

Employers in Ohio and around the country are prohibited from discriminating against older workers by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, but labor advocates say that the landmark law's provisions have been weakened over time by the courts. A study conducted recently by the AARP reveals that the overwhelming majority of older Americans agree with these sentiments. The nonprofit group polled 3,900 Americans over the age of 45 who are either working or looking for work, and 9 out of 10 of them supported revising the ADEA.

The AARP study also suggests that workplace age discrimination is alarmingly common. An overwhelming 90 percent of the respondents said that they felt this way, and 61 percent said that they had witnessed it themselves. Almost a third of the workers polled mentioned overhearing derogatory remarks about older workers, being denied promotions or important assignments because of their age, or being fired or laid off.

However, the study also reveals that older workers rarely take action after being treated unfairly at work. Only 3 percent of the respondents said that they complained about age-based workplace discrimination to their managers or human resources department, but the answers to other survey questions suggest that this reluctance to step forward may be fear-based. One in five of the workers polled said that they feared losing their jobs in the year ahead.

Workers who endure discrimination or harassment often remain silent because they fear being terminated or retaliated against in some other way. Attorneys with experience in this area will likely understand this hesitancy, and they may seek to overcome it by pointing out the severe sanctions that employers could face for taking adverse actions against workers who step forward when civil rights laws are violated.

Source: Next Avenue, Age Discrimination by Employers Is Common, AARP Survey Says, Peter Gosselin, Aug. 9, 2018

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