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Age Discrimination in Job Search and the Workplace

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Have you experienced age discrimination? Laurie McCann is a Senior Attorney with AARP Foundation Litigation where her principal responsibilities include litigation and amicus curiae (impartial advisor) participation for AARP on a broad range of age discrimination and other employment issues.

 

Ask AARP Expert Laurie your questions about age discrimination, and share your experience.

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Regular Contributor

"As long as I possibly can!"
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Periodic Contributor

Hi Sherry,

 

I'd say exactly what vm10947576 said "I want to enjoy what I am doing, I love to work, and hope to do it until I drop."  or, you can go the sarcastic way and say "I hope to be upright" or "until I kick the bucket". It depends if the interviewer is really considering you or they are just interviewing so they can claim they don't discriminate age. This is typical of government institutions (the education ones for sure) or business that have government contracts.

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I gave up looking for a part-time job; even though I know I am highly capable of doing the job!   I just got tired of age discrimination and looking at it in the "face".

I do an office volunteer job at a non-profit and they all love me and I also drive a tram in a beautiful garden and give history tours of the garden.  I really enjoy being outside with nature!

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Regular Contributor

Pretty much the same here. Bureau of Labor Stats concurs that there are PLENTY of people like us out there -- have given up & occupying selves with other things.
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Contributor

I understand.  

If I didn’t need to earn money, I wouldn’t work for it.   

 

Enjoy!

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Periodic Contributor

I came across a list of companies that hire for legititmate "Work At Home Opportunities" at clark.com.  It is true that pay isn't as high as physically going to a job but there are openings where your experience gets you in the door. In particular, there is a website listed called "Work at Home Vintage Experts" or WAHVE. This recruitment company targets experts in the industries of Insurance, Accounting, and Human Resources. I'm in none of the three but I signed up for their newsletter in the event they expand into other industries.

 

I hope this helps.

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I just want a job.  I get nervous applying. Because age discrimination.  

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Newbie

Recently I was let go after almost 4 years with this company.  Just prior to being let go I had a performance review with overall of meets expectation.  Most of the review was exceeds expectation.  I was given the opportunity to apply for different positions as an internal employee.  I applied for 35 with no success and only had 4 interviews.  I am eligible for rehire.  I have now applied for a total of 66 positions that I havee experience in.  I am a RN with 43 years of experience and I am 69 years old.  Please advise, I feel I was let go as I was the oldest one in my department of about 35 nurses and probably the highest paid due to years of experience.  3 months after I left, anothere nurse was hired for my position who is half my age.  If need more info, I will be happy to assist.  Please advise as my 180 window will soon be running out to file.  Thank you for talking time for this consideration.  I have applied at outside organizations and have not been successful.  This hit on my income take me from 91K to less than 2K and will probably make me homeless and living on the street.

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Periodic Contributor

Have you tried the online job market? There are jobs for RNs. Many are remote or part-time remote like Case Management or Nurse coach. I frequent a reputable site like flexjobs.com. 

 

Another idea is to get a Medical Coder certification. You can do this in six months. Many Medical Coders work from home. Just an example.

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Conversationalist

@pw64837538 ,

 

I find it hard to believe an RN can't find a job.  I am sure your suspicions are correct.  The only thing companies hate more than old persons are old persons making a lot of money. 

 

When did you think you would retire?

 

At 69 making almost 3 times the average US salary you ought to have a large nest egg.  I make about what you do and for every $100 I contribute to my 401k my pay check goes down $25.  Most of your paycheck is going to Uncle Sam.  At you age you can contribute 25 k every year.  Until last year I made ofer 10% on my investments.  If I add in this bad year I still averaged over 10%.  In a decade of 10%s you double your money.

 

I would put your resume on job sites like monster and careerbuilder.  I would research your local government to see if you can get job counceling.

 

If you want to sue locate a lawyer and see if he will work for part of the settlement.  If they will not your case isn't a good one.

 

 

Good Luck!

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Newbie

Yes, unfortunatelly. I am a experienced employee that has worked for the Federal Government, Corporations, and for the last ten years with a Municipal Government. The last one has been the worst employer because they tend to look to the other side when you bring issues to their attention. They hire their young friends and people that they like; it's like a fraternity and soroty organization. Just like the "Your Money" article from November 2015, the five signs you face age discrimination by Bruce Horovitz, he nailed it - I am experiencing four-out-of five signs from the list. I haven't heard the tacky comments of the age but I can sometimes "read their minds". The Executives have this "idea" of teamwork, but the reality is different "the givers and the takers", knowlege is power and several departments from this Municipal Government are toxic places to work. This is not fair. 

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Contributor

 

When applying online for jobs, I have qualifications to fit a job position exactly but I am turned down because of some glitch. It is only after I am required to enter the year I graduated High School. I asked why graduated college was not important there is never a reason other than answer high school graduation year. There is such great interest in me until I enter the graduation year which is obvious it is age discrimination in a deceptive manner.

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Conversationalist

I don't have a graduation year then if asked I push it back exactly 10 years so it is easy to remember.  I lie without any pause which is important.

 

Here is an AARP resume work shop for anyone reading this. 

 

Resumes will make or break your job hunt.  If yours isn't great you will never get a reply.  No one waists time by contacting you to tell you your resume sucks!

 

https://www.aarp.org/work/resume-advisor/?cmp=EMC-DSO-NLC-RSS-WORKJOBS-RA-TEST-013019-P5-3537662&ET_...

 

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Regular Contributor

Ron: That link leads to an AARP advert. Was that your intent?

 

Also, depending on the web site asking, I enter the earliest date possible (e.g. 1900).

 

So far I've not done that on a job site, but I'm considering it. I figure if I enter that, any eventual real human reading it will assume 1 of 2 things: A) It's a typo, or B) I've intentionally refused to answer the question. Coming in a distant third, reader might think I'm really 100+ years old & will be so intrigued that (s)he'll contact me! Woman LOL

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Conversationalist

I was upfront and thought I explained my intent.  I believe most seniors, less than 1 in 20, who are job hunting don't have a resume that can do the job.  As a result, no one contacts them.  You can complain how the world is unfair or try to fix the problem.

 

9 out of 10 times I send in my resume I get contacted.  That means I am using great bait.  If you only get contacted 1 out of 10 something is wrong with your resume or your cover letter if you sent one. I don't bother with a cover letter since I don't need one.  If you have a good resume but poor interview skills you will get better with practice.  At least you get feed back.  If the robot failes your resume, you will never get feed back so you are stuck in falure mode.  Most seniors don't like not getting a job but refuse to do anything about it.  Maybe they are waiting for the world to change so they can get an interview. 

 

The problem is how does someone who is inexperienced write a great resme?  They can't.  You need an expert to re-write your resume.  It still will not be perfect.  Resumes are an ongoing work.  However, if it is good enough to get you some action you will get feed back and you can improve your resume.   How can an inexperienced person find a true expert?  They can't because they don't know enough to tell the good from the bad.  What you need is experts selected by someone more experienced than you.  AARP is big enough that they can weed out experts for you.  I would always recommend a service.  You get a free evaluation.  Even that is a step in the right direction.  Too many seniors say they can't afford to have their resume rewritten.  Can you afford to be out of work for 5 years or more?   

 

What makes you think a human has ever read your resume?  That is highly unlikely but possible.  Robots are faster, cheaper and do a much better job.  They catch and count typos better than humans.

 

Why do you think anyone would care why you put in 1900 for a birth date?  Everyone is too buzy to be curious as to why you put in a wacky birth date.  They just trash you and go to the next canadate. They will get fired if they don't produce and they can't afford to waist time on someone claiming to be born in 1900.

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Conversationalist

That is actually illegal so I lie.  I subtract 10 years from my dates without batting an eye.  I do clear that up in the face to face interview.  That is how I got the job I am in now.

 

They will have trouble trying to fire you because you lied on a question they were not allowed to ask.

 

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Regular Contributor

I’ve seen some listings that require an ability to lift consistently a certain amount of weight even though not part of the job requirement.
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Regular Contributor

Yes, I have been discriminated against at a job interview.  I am 69 years old and looking for part-time

work and the interviewer ask me , "how long did I plan on working?"  

I have an excellent resume with excellent references!!  She wasn't interested in that only she saw my age!!  

There are companies out there who are senior friendly because they know we have excellent job skills and WANT to work!!!  We will make their companies successful!!

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Conversationalist

That is very normal.  I don't expect to be taken seriously at 68 and I have lots of rare specialized skills. Remember they hate old people!

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I am turning 60 and have been looking for employment for over 8-10 years. Applied for over 100 different jobs and currently those positions in which I applied are now being occupied by someone who is approximately half my age with little to no experience. (I went back and checked as many as possible...) The interviews that I recieve are cursory interviews because I "checked a couple of boxes". Advance degree black male with 30 yrs of experience in the public and private sector in higher level management. The assumption is that, I am over qualified, running away from something, or I make too much money and the latter is very amusing. 

 

All of this is some what ironic since I am the person that investigates discrimination.

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Conversationalist

@robinsjr , my definition of over qualified is does the interviewer think you might be competition for his job?  You come off articulate, educated and smart.  That is intimidating for someone who has been getting bad reviews.  I never could play dumb convincinly. You made need to find a better fit.

 

Good Luck!

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Age Discrimination, really is a big problem facing America! People that you work with, and for lie, and mostly get away with it for now.But, eventually they will fall, and suffer what they put the person through. The financial hardships, bankruptcy action, credit severely ruin, and unable to pay on or off student loan debts.  I unfortunately,  experienced this EVIL!  It was not pleasant. I guess, Goliath rThateally believes he/she can't be beat.  What makes matters worst is the lying wicked evil employer, that will intentionally cover-up for their own name sake. But again, God knows  all, Even when you lie, and claim, "the statuture of limitations is closed". Tell it to the master controller of life, He knows. It is because of abuse of power, and Goliath believes that he can do anything to anybody that he wants, and he has no recourse for his "sin". ALL I know is man did NOT give me mine, and therefore no man, no woman has the power to take mine away from me, if I am NOT breaking the law. You don't have to be labelled, just simply taking up for what you worked, and earned. Try being 44years young, a professional nurse, single, with and black. This should not be a threat. All was going fair, until I spoke up for what I know that I was NOT doing. To be falsely accussed without proof?  Oh, maybe goliath believes I did not have the protection for the complexion. Who cares? That is the main reason why people are NOT tolerating this behavior any longer. Mine was not given to me.I earned mine, and it belongs to me, And, I will continue to stand for what I believe in, like it or lump it.

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Conversationalist

What state do you live in?

 

I would write down all that you can remember.  That includes dates, names, times and what everyone said.  In most states you will have a hearing.  It is unlikly that you can be fired in most states without proof. I do know in VA you don't need proof.  Employees work at the descression of the employer.  I would reserch your state before you do anything other than writing everything down.  Often the side with the notes wins.

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Contributor

You are not alone in your experience.  One of the new "schemes" I have encountered to avoid interviewing qualified candidates that don't match a very specific hiring demographic are

  • Hiring organization pulls the job after you have applied and encourage you to reapply later. 
  • We have decided not to fill the position at this time and then you will see the position posted again within a few weeks with a different posting number. 

Even after reapplying you still aren't interviewed.

 

I wish you the best in your search and encourage you to persist.  

 

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Regular Contributor

Yes. Something like this has happened to me. A specific job I've had my eye on for months -- & am qualified for -- has a deadline date, disappears after the deadline, then a couple weeks later reappears. Is it worth it to keep applying? They didn't ask anything that would reveal my age (that I recall). For what other reason would a business do this?

 

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I have been the victim of age discrimination for a while now. I was a regular on Indeed, and on many other sites. For three years I applied, often 2 or 3 times for one job. I was qualified for all the jobs I applied. One day it occurred to me to google myself. I had googled myself many times before but it had been a while. My answer on google was my name, several blank spaces and 74. My heart stopped because what does a 35 year old hiring manager do when considering his stack of applicants? He starts with google and sees what's out there. Dumbfounded over this I requested a change in my personal info online and after a month or so was granted the permission to change whatever I wanted on my profile. I gave myself another 15 years and sealed it so now it appears I am younger by many years. This experience, however, has cost me my house as I waited 3 years part time employed and every month gave out all my money to the mortgage expecting any month to get hired. Money ran out and I got foreclosed. I am moving in the next month somewhere at a rental more than my mortgage. And probably a trailer park. The point of my message is: calculate that any hiring manager younger than you by 15 years is going to think you are ancient and ridiculous to even be asking. Remember back to when you were 35 or 40. Sixty years seemed so old. So, it is actually human nature that older people are not getting hired. A person younger by 15 years cannot imagine hiring anyone that old. It doesn't matter how educated you are, what your standing was or is in the community, or even what sex you are. I am hired now part time, to be full time when I move. I am a counselor working in the schools with children whose parents are mostly in drugs and the caregivers are having such a difficult time with these kids (many of whom have been born drug addicted). But, I am hired in a town 55 miles away and drive back and forth for hours. It was a shame I spent all that time applying almost every day. I was so disheartened and depressed. I hope the baby boomers will be able to remedy this as no one actually retires ay 65 any more.

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I am i marketing, and  am called in all the time to do a cattle call interview process.   Each time, I say on the phone, now, is there a room full of people you are interviewing within a short period of time?  They answer and say yes.  This is to take a quick look at me.  They sort out at that time.   When I learn this is the structure, I say, what age group are you looking at, and sometimes they say, nothing, avoid it or say " We are not looking for any age group.  But, once, at a benefits group interview that dwindled down to me, the interviewer said to me, do you think you can work in this high energy culture.  I said "what do you mean."  We have a lot of youthful energy here."  I pursued it further to see how far he would go.  I said "that room is where I will work making calls? It was a room filled with music and everyone under 30 laughing and working in a huge conference room all crammed in.  I said, is that the room I would need to work in?  He said "yes".  Would that be a problem for you?  I said "it probably would be."   "He blammed it on the Culture."  You could sit in the back and separate with earphones.   He got very close to crossing over, but never did.   

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Regular Contributor

"Crossing over"? What exactly do you mean?
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Regular Contributor

His intent was to discriminate, so my opinion would be it was discrimination, I have worked in two places that fit the business you are describing. I applaud your response!

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Conversationalist

@RuthL139321 ,  I feel your pain!

 

One thing, you probably spend less time commuting than I.  An hour commute 1 way in Washington DC is concidered an OK commute and is the average.  When you have to travel 20-30 miles in stop and go traffic it takes forever.  I remember taking 4.5 hrs to get home on a very bad day.  I am sure you think that is crazy if you live in a rural area. 

 

I never give my real birth date on line.  That gives scammers an in to rob you.  I always use my B-day minus 10 years.   By the way what profile were you talking about?

 

It isn't just that they don't like old people but they may be intimidated.  You may be older than their parents.  Even the most stupid manager is not so stupid to hire anyone who could do their job better than they can.  That is why they never hire 'over qualified' employees.  The more incompetent they are, the more careful they need to be. I can remember quite a few interviews where I figured out the manager had no clue how to run an organization.  My questions must have struck nerves.  I was only trying to figure out what the job intailed but the manager didn't know 20% of my questions which he should have. 

 

When you are a senior, you take what you can get.  If it sucks you can contine to job hunt but are working.  I took a bad job and the next job that opened and would be a good fit for me opened over a year later.  Employers hate gaps in your carreer. So if you don't take the job you are screwed financially and make it much harder to find another job.  Being old, any small got you will reduce your chances of getting hired.  I longer you are out of work the harder it is to get a job.    This stopped most of my friends from working. This happens to most of us sooner or later.  I know I gave the best interview because I always ask how I did.  For one I was told no one came close to the answers I provided but they offered the job to someone else.  I usually do extreamly well because I know I have to do much better than the competition if I will be concidered so I come super prepared.

 

 

 

 

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