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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

So sorry that people on this site is experiencing such disgusting behavior. I at one time fought to keep my job and retire under my own terms. What I experience may not relate to some of you but hopefully it will.

Once I was age 50 that was the beginning of the war. The young ones thought they were smarter than me but that proved to be disproved. Once they finally figured out I had very active brain cells and smart, they tried to open up the top of my head and suck all the knowledge out. The plan was for me to train the young ones so they could discard me. But wait.....I started being the person they thought I was an old, stubborn, non-conformist..... the sterotypical senior. I continued to do my job exceptionally as usual but refused to train anyone. You are not obligated to train anyone. I retired at age 65 on my own terms, knowledge still in my head.

Not all young people are misinformed, so don't label them the way most label us. Those that think they know everything will fail, why, because when you think you are a legend, you are really a legend in your own mind. Some young people think they are knowledgeable because of computers when standing before them are people who actually lived through the very things they see on the internet. Sad and pathetic. History repeats itself....they have no history. Let them stay ignorant in their smartness.

You have to fight back. File complaints, get a lawyer, file with the state, the feds whoever you need to file with. More important document, document, document ......

I have filed so many complaints that I was know as the person not to mess with. I am telling you  you are as powerless as you think you are. I am black, a senior, a female......triple threat....

 

 

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Bronze Conversationalist

Great response!
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Contributor

Does HR help or hinder? 

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Contributor

For people who live in Colorado and Wyoming I caution against contacting the EEOC until AARP and some political advocates restructure their management.  Even EEOC employees out of the Ilinois branch are frustrated with the apathy, (someties) erroneous information, non-response to call inquiries, and general unprofessional demeanor when they do succeed in speaking to a live person. This is a serious allegation, I know, however I can back it up with facts.  Any ideas?

 

 

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Regular Contributor

Unclear which is being unresponsive. AArP? EEOC? 

 

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Regular Contributor

I don't know?

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Periodic Contributor

Make sure you write every single detail down, names, dates, the issue, tone of voice, etc. Recordings would be best where possible.
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Contributor

WOW do you work at the same place I do?  I have applied for a few positions,  of which I know I would fit.  I have done them before.  And keep getting denied and someone younger less experienced gets the position.  I like you work for a company that prides itself on the diversity, but nothing for people over 55. Especially a woman of age.  ( I am over 60, but still plan to work another 10 years).  

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Periodic Contributor

Hang in there, I hope you get to work another 10 years. I thought it would be a breeze to work just the 4.5 years to get to full retirement but at this rate I know I can't, the emotional impact is to great and causing health issues. The best of luck to you!
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Regular Contributor

Have you reported this to EEOC? You MUST do that if *any* of us is to ever have a fighting chance @ fighting age discrimination. No excuses. Too many of us don't, nothing changes, and we just keep bitching on AArP & expect them to do everything. 

 

If we're not willing to put any skin in the game, we can't & won't win. 

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Periodic Contributor

This is true. I have always hated any kind of bullying, especially where children are concerned, I've never heard of or known anyone that has been a victim of mobbing / age discrimination, unbelievable what I've been through and how coworker s / supervisors clamor together to get rid of somebody.
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Periodic Contributor

Hi there,

 

I'm in the process of reporting to the EEOC, will be speaking to an attorney tomorrow.  Good that you are still working! Hang tight !

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Regular Contributor

Younger = cheaper. Not necessarily in pay but mainly in terms of health care costs and (perceived?) health-related absenteeism. That's the elephant in the living room. And not a damned thing we can do about it other than electing more Democrats. But the over 50 crowd is not known for being a Democratic stronghold.

 

There IS another way: If AArP folk can protest & **bleep** disturb like the AIDS activists' ACT UP, we'd have a fighting chance.  I'm for a more aggressive style, but most AArP folk aren't. Too risk averse and other (perceived?) limitations. 

 

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I am currently experiencing mobbing for the 2nd time in my current job of 2.5 years. Just about everyone has been turned against me.  I am 62 and work with almost all 30 to 40 year olds who are mostly rude and extremely disrespectful.  My intentions were to retire at 66.5 years of age to maximize my income, but I am emotionally and mentally drained from all the abuse and felt forced to apply for social security for fear I was going to lose my job, I have placed it on a hold status until I see how this all unfolds.  I feel like I have been backed in a corner with no way out, no one to talk to that can be trusted, as HR doesn't seem to help at all.  This place has literally sucked what life I have left out of me, so much for the dream of a Great retirement after working hard for almost 50 years.  Since at this moment I am still working I'm stuck on whether to quit and save my life but with no income except a very small SSA check, and try to find an attorney pro bono and file with the EEOC, or keep my mouth shut, keep taking the abuse, and hope I have life left to retire.  Any and All suggestions are welcome.

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Regular Contributor

Article on how to fight workplace mobbing/bullying:

http://www.manageangerdaily.com/2010/03/how-to-combat-workplace-mobbing/

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Periodic Contributor

Thanks for the link!
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Regular Contributor

I've been there too many times. I'm now 66 and have finally retired. I have always been a high performer in all my jobs, but it wasn't until I was 50 years old and returned to work after lung cancer surgery did I experience the mobbing phenomena. I guess the experience changed me and made me more introverted and people we more easily able to pick at me. From then on it seemed the longest I could keep a job was 5 years. Every time I changed jobs it seemed it would happen again no matter how hard I tried to act dumb and not excel, I would still rise above and others would get jealous and start undercutting me.

 

My advice to you, is to look for another job while you are still working in hopes you can get out of there. If you can't, good luck, ignore it if you can, and try to stick it out until the end. Retiring early is a lot of money to lose.

 

To win a discrimination case today you almost need to have someone recorded on tape saying they are discrimnating against you because of your age. Age discrimination is almost impossible.to win. I've had what I felt were two very good cases and lawyers didn't want to touch them.

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Periodic Contributor

Thank you for replying and I hope you have best the lung cancer.  I too have always been a high achiever in every job I have worked.  This is a first for me, especially the mobbing phenomenon, unbelievable. If this is the future of the next generations they better be prepared.  I have contacted an attorney, we'll see if they think it's worth taking Thanks again for sharing your experience and I'm glad you were able to retire later 

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Periodic Contributor

Hope you have beat the cancer!
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Regular Contributor

Thank you! 17 years strong so far! 🙂

 

Cancer was easy. It was the mobbing and fear of losing insurance and being disqualified for having a pre-existing condition that was tough.

 

When I went back to work after removal of part of my lung and 8 weeks recovery, I was placed in a new postion "to ease me back into working again". Once there I was told I was being "evaluated for perceived deficiencies that were noticed in the months before my operation". I didn't understand this as my performance review, only 3 months before the operation and 2 days before I told them I had lung cancer and was going to need some time off, was excellent and I had received the largest raise being given and the largest annual bonus. I had even received an employee of the month award a few months earlier.

 

It seemed when I came back I couldn't do anything right any more. My supervisor was critical of everything I did. He would give me incomplete or even incorrect instructions and then lie to our manager, who was the one wanting to "evaluate" me when I messed up. Coworkers were mobbing me, talking behind my back. It was hell. I was put on a personal improvement plan within 2 weeks and fired within 5 weeks.

 

I filed with the EEOC for disability and age discrimination and they gave me the right to sue, but no lawyer really cared to take the case. I tried to do it myself, but the company put restraining orders on me and I couldn't talk to anyone in the company to arrange any witnesses.

 

I ended up going crazy as I was unemployed for 9 months trying to make a house, car, alimony, and COBRA payments on $1100 a month unemployment. My 26 year marriage had ended in divorce just a couple months before the spot was found on my lung. Needless to say I went broke. I had to maintain COBRA as I had to have follow up CT scans with my oncologist every 3 months after the surgery, and if I let insurance lapse, I wouldn't be insurable again.

 

But all is better now...

 

Thank you!

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Regular Contributor

I am so sorry for all you had to go threw with your cancer and job!  Companies only care about the

black bottom line, making a profit!

I, too, hated the gossip during my working years, but am retired now and don't have to deal with it

anymore.  

The best thing to do is to do your best everyday and mind your on business and never ever contribute to gossip, because whatever you say will be repeated; you can bet on it.  If you have to

talk about what is going on in your work world talk with someone who has never worked at your company!  We all need to talk sometimes; it makes us feel better to get it out in the open.

I have been recruited to do a job here in my community and someone saw my skills!!!

You know, Perry, everything works out in the end!  Just learn from all of your experience whether it

it good or bad, right?!

Take good care and I wish you the best life has to offer!

 

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Periodic Contributor

Well I'm glad you are doing better, rebuilding, and now retired!  Good for you and I am so sorry for everything you lost, somehow a silver lining can come out of tragedy, and I am a true believer in Karma.  Mobbing is a horrible bullying method and I cannot believe the unprofessionalism of the supervisors involved not to mention my co-workers.  Lol, I should have chosen to be a Veterinarian in life, too late now, looking for another job. Thank you again for your story, it helps to know that this is a real thing.   🌞

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What puzzles me is how many Linkedin views I receive on a weekly basis....25, 30, + yet not one reaches out to me - obviously they may just be scouting but really?  Not one?  I have removed my graduation dates and dates pertaining to years in a position (I started when I was 19 - truth) however, maybe I should keep dates in place?  Age discrimination is an interesting and real issue but I can assure you, I am the same person, even better, than I was 10 years ago but yet today, not a nibble.  

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Conversationalist

@js97637592, your resume goes back how many years?  Experts say make sure your resume doesn't peg you as old so only keep 15-20 years of experiance on your resume.  They really only care about the last 5 or 10 years.  The rest isn't imortant other than you had a job.  If you did something great earlier you nned to descide if you include it.

 

Do you join in discussions on linked in?  They can get an idea who you are by those.  That can be good or bad.  What you don't want to do is appear less than great so take care what you post.  

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Regular Contributor

I have been reading some of the sadest post regarding age discrimination over the last couple of weeks. The one thing I find the sadest is people giving up. Maybe I just cannot relate but my view of discrimination is very different. I could get a trifecta looking for a job, black, female and senior but there is a fire still in me that I dare anyone to discriminate against me for any of the above stated. I don't feel powerless. I will come after any organization that discriminates against me period. All this talking is good but kick some butt.

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Regular Contributor

You go girl!!
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Regular Contributor

You cannot prove age discrimination.  It is too difficult to prove.

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Periodic Contributor

I'm with @sherrys21502  on this one.

 

HR is aware of discrimination and won’t mention any incriminating statement in an interview (recording the interview is a null effort). By the time HR interviews you, they already know your age. They conduct the interview because a) You are qualified; b) they don’t have another candidate now; c) they can pay you cheaper wages; d) you have a specific skill they are after; e) because it’s a legal requirement due to the nature of their business to do so.

   

A week or so later, emails arrive with responses like “Despite your excellent resume, we went with another candidate whose skills and qualifications are more aligned … blah blah”. I am fully aware of my capabilities and don’t apply where I’m not qualified.

 

The amount of time and effort I’ve have spent editing my resume (I have to backtrack many times over to the original) to get past the bots into HR hands and preparing for interviews is a total waste. Really, all of this for a job that is probably going to cost me more than not working at all… More gas, more car repairs, more box lunches, more tolls, traffic, more STRESS, and, in turn, more medical bills.

 

Although I keep an eye on the job boards and may occasionally send my resume, my focus has shifted to virtual jobs and, since I cultivated my hobby as a small business, attending mixers including social ones helps prevent stagnation. Who you know is still the best route to a job.

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Regular Contributor

What do you say to the person who is interviewing you and they ask "how long do you plan to work"?

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