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Older job seekers may experience age discrimination

There are many older adults in Pennsylvania who want to work but cannot find a job. Due to widespread age discrimination in employment, people over the age of 55 can have a much harder time finding a new job than younger job applicants. When they give up on their job search, they may end up tapping into their retirement savings a lot earlier than they had planned.

The Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis looked at government figures on unemployment and estimated that the jobless rate for people over 55 years old was 8.7 percent in August 2016. Though the official unemployment rate for people over age 55 that month was 3.5 percent, SCEPA found that the number was higher when it includes workers who recently gave up looking for a job and workers that hold part-time jobs but want to be employed full-time.

Most of the age discrimination complaints that are filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concern terminations. However, many people argue that age discrimination is very common in hiring situations, but it is difficult for job applicants to prove that they have been discriminated against. A study by economists showed that dummy job applications receive much higher callback rates when they contain markers indicating that the job seekers are young.

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because they are 40 years old or older. If people suspect that they have been turned down for a job or a promotion because of their age, the person may want to talk to an employment law attorney about filing a workplace discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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