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Know your legal protections against discrimination as an older worker

| Dec 1, 2020 | Employment Law |

Are you an older job applicant with a stellar resume who is struggling to get hired — or even to get an interview? One might assume that with online job applications and remote interviews, age discrimination is not as much of a factor as with in-person meeting with prospective employers.

In fact, the reverse is true. The digital age has made age discrimination easier to accomplish and hide. Below are some ways that it affects older workers and maybe even you.

Skirting the ADEA

More than 50 years ago, Congress passed a labor law known as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Under its terms, it makes it illegal to discriminate against those 40 and older based on their age. No longer can employment ads state things like, “Applicants needed age 35 and younger” and other blatant examples of age discrimination. However, in many cases, that simply drove the discriminatory practices underground, as they persist.

Online discrimination may be even easier

You may have seen it yourself when filling out and online job application. Did the drop-down menus for educational background and job experience only go back to the 1980s? That effectively disenfranchises older workers.

Then there is the usual slot to fill in your birthdate. Many applications won’t get processed without a birthdate filled in, effectively letting the HR department recruiter know your exact age.

New code words at play

Have you ever read a job posting seeking “digital natives?” It doesn’t matter how proficient one might be on digital devices. This term refers to those who have used computers, Smartphones and other devices since childhood and weeds out those older applicants who had to learn to use computers as adults.

What can older workers do?

If you believe that you were discriminated against as a job applicant, it might be possible to prevail in court if you allege age discrimination. An experienced attorney can help you.