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Things to Know: Age Discrimination

Age discrimination occurs when an employee or applicant is treated less favorably because of his or her age.  This includes non-consideration for positions, demotions, or job loss.  The employee or applicant must be 40 years old to be the victim of age discrimination.

In 2016, 20,847 age discrimination complaints were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Of those complaints, the EEOC only filed two cases in court, largely because workplace discrimination cases are often expensive and legally complicated.

Additionally, A 2009 Supreme Court ruling established a precedent that puts the burden of proof on employees for age discrimination, and most discrimination cases are settled out of court.

Furthermore, A 2015 study from economists at the University of California at Irvine and Tulane University found that older women face greater difficulty finding jobs than older men.  

Lastly, ageism can have a psychological impact on people.  People 50 years or older who have a positive self-perception live 7.5 years longer than those who don’t, and those who experience age discrimination often feel worse about themselves and their age.