Age Discrimination. The hidden agenda

So you are 60 years old and fully qualified for the job that asks for 10-15 years experience. So you submit your resume outlining your past 15 years of experience – and no more. As for your education in your resume, you do not put THE YEAR that you graduated getting your BS (Bull-Shit?), your MS (More of the Same?), nor your PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper?).

So, they are impressed, and they ask you to come for an interview including all expense- paid flight and hotel. Your ego gets boosted, and you take that all-expense-paid flight.

On arrival at the reception of the interview, the first thing they do is to ask you to fill an application form and SIGN IT, agreeing that anything you put there, will be subject to verification, and if anything is not true, you’d be fired at anytime upon employment.

Knowing about discrimination age laws, they make sure they would not ask you to put your year of birth. They only ask for your day and month of birth. However, they do ask for your Social Security Number (SSN).

Meanwhile, you go through a whole series of interviews - all day. They all find you perfectly suited for the job. Some of them become so complementary about your qualifications that you start thinking " Maybe I am overqualified for this job !!"

Well. Yupee. With the knowledge of your SSN and your day/month of birth, the HR department has already gone on-line and has found your year of birth from the cheapest Credit Bureau. So much for potential employers, not knowing what is your age.

Next, you get the usual politically correct “regret letter” saying “while we find you qualified for the job, our selection committee has found, among 5,000 other applicants, a more qualified candidate, and we wish you the best in your endeavor !!"

Subject of debate: Is there a hypocrisy / hidden agenda in the US about “Age Discrimination”?

As for Europe and elsewhere, I believe there is no hypocrisy there. Most job announcements overseas clearly indicate the maximum age for the job.

I don’t believe there is any hypocracy involved; I think that an employer simply wants to hire someone who is likely to be around for the long term–a person older than some arbitrary age is, in the HR view, simply not likely to provide good ROI. They just cannot tell you that because of the law.

I’m 64 and have resigned myself to part-time, underpaid work for as long as I can continue working at all. Unless, that is, I can develop some small business of my own where I will work 60 hours per week for less than minimum wage----but it would beat what I’m doing now.

If they only do this once, they’ll probably get away with it – maybe they just like the younger guy better, after all. But, f they make a practice of passing over qualified older applicants in favor of demonstrably no more qualified younger ones, sooner or later they are gonna get called on it by the EEOC. It is tough to prove, so you have to have a really egrious pattern of misconduct.

One of these days, the software industry is going to get hit with a class-action lawsuit that will make the tobacco settlement look like peanuts.

The two employers I’ve had since 1998 haven’t done this at all. Of course, the defense industry looks favorably on people with lots of experience building weapons systems.

Before 1998, I was enlisted in the U.S. Navy, which does have age restrictions for entirely legitimate reasons.

I don’t see how that makes any sense, though. Nobody’s hiring people these days with the expectation that they’ll be around for 20 years; ‘long term’ these days is more like 5-10 years, which even a 60 year old is likely to be around for, unless his 401k runneth over.

I think it has more to do with the expectation that the older one is, the harder it will be to get that person to put in bushels of hours of unpaid overtime (since we’re surely talking professional/managerial positions here). Which is just one more reason why time and a half after 40 hours should cover the vast majority of workers, ‘professionals’ or not.

What are they, other than lack of immediate necessity? The Army has been calling people back up in their 50s and 60s, with even one 70 year old doctor from the IRR now serving in uniform in Afghanistan. It’s not like Navy service is that much more physically challenging than the Army, especially at a time when we’re fighting two land wars.

The only instance in Europe when it is legal to indicate a maximum age is if they are trying to take advantage of certain laws that make it cheaper to hire yong people (less Social Security tax and, depending on conditions, less salary). The same goes for when they indicate “women over 45”, it usually means that they want to take advantage of certain Social Security Tax reductions. There have been a lot of abuses, specially with the first kind: some companies hire a new recent graduate every “year and eleven months” to avoid having to pay full salary; many people who get hired for unqualified jobs straight out of compulsory HS get fired on the day they turn 25.

But I have to say… even though there IS discrimination here, in general I find that at least we can talk about it and people/companies/worker’s representatives want to get rid of it. Loopholes get chopped out of laws periodically; some times urgently, depending on how angry the minister involved is about the issue; some companies have found out that being “a good place to work” also helps with sales.

Not hiring someone who is interested in the job because “he is too good for it and won’t stay”, or not believing what someone says during the interview (for example, “I’d love to work here because it’s a job that would allow me to strike a good balance with my family life, I’ve got a little kid and would like to stop traveling”) is completely dumb. Wish there was more people who were willing to take others at face value.

Sounds like you got a lot of worthless education.
I don’t know about the rest of that stuff, but I think they will figure out that you are old when a 60 year old dude shows up to work.

As for age descrimination, I can see some valid reasons why a company might not want to hire older employees.

More experience usually corresponds to higher salary. For most non-managerial positions there are diminishing returns for that extra experience.

Younger employees (talking like single 20-30 somethings here) tend to be more eager, willing to travel or relocate and work long hours. Once you hit mid-30s or start a family, a lifestyle of nothing but working 70 hour+ weeks, Thursday happy hours living paycheck to paycheck with 5 of your buddies in a loft downtown doesn’t cut it anymore.

There is a general expectation of what level you should be at given your experience or age. If you are in your 40s and have been at the same level for 15 years, an employer might believe that you are not ambitious or capible of growth.

Problem is that any decent business school grad knows what to say in an interview. One of my coworkers who interviewed my has a ‘trick question’ she likes to ask. You have to be an imbecile not to know the proper response to it, given our industry. And not hiring someone who is overqualified is a valid concern. If someone is grossly overqualified there is a very good chance that they will leave for a more challenging position as soon as they can. Or in some cases, they won’t take the job seriously or they’ll be disgruntled.

You call that age discrimination?

Let me know when you’re no longer allowed to vote, run for office, get a driver’s license, drive at night or with passengers, walk outside at night, sign contracts, get married, consent to sex, gamble, buy alcohol and tobacco, or make decisions about your own education and medical care because of your age, OK?

Umm… What point are you trying to make Mr2001?

Oh and BTW, I’m not allowed to do that stuff because of my age.

For a full-time job, even without benefits, I would happily accept substantially less than the last salary I earned. I would cheerfully work as many hours over forty as I could stand, and would be willing to travel at the drop of a hat. I always did those things, why shouldn’t I do them now? I have a lot of experience and, yes, a lot of knowlege that is simply draining away and is of no use to anyone. It is a sad fact that once a certain age is reached, a lot of people consider you to be way past your prime. That is especially true here in Florida where old folk are a dime a dozen. The truth is that all my experience and knowlege could be passed on to younger folk, if the chance was given. As it is, they will have to learn for themselves what I already know—think of the time that could be saved. When I was young, I had little use for older people and now I are one. The wheel keeps turning, does it not?

It’s a whine about the poor victimized 12-year-olds who can’t do all that stuff. Completely different from what the OP is saying, I should say. And not at all comparable.

Merely that there are far worse forms of age discrimination than being passed over for a job. The OP’s complaints strike me as somewhat like grumbling that you’re “starving” because your dessert didn’t fill you up, while there’s a whole continent full of people who are literally starving to death.

Sorry to hear that. You’ll be older someday, but I hope you don’t forget how unfairly you were treated at this age.

The law treating children differently than adults is neither discrimination nor unfair. It is simple, commons sense policy without which civilization would not long survive.

I wasn’t complaining.

I wasn’t because there’s a good reason that kids shouldn’t be allowed to do to things you mentioned. Namely they’re not responsible enough. It really isn’t at all comparable.

The discriminatory part is that the legal boundary between “children” and “adults” is an arbitrary age.

People don’t suddenly become better drivers on their 16th birthdays. They don’t become more responsible drinkers the moment they turn 21, or wiser Presidents when they turn 35. Some people will be ready for a driver’s license at age 15, but others shouldn’t be driving even at 18. If someone is mature enough to drive a car, drink a beer, or hold public office, but the government won’t let him because of when he was born, that’s unfair age discrimination.

Generalizations about all “kids”–everyone in a certain age group–are no more accurate than generalizations about all Americans or all women. Everybody matures at a different rate.

That said, if the OP wants to keep this thread on the subject of age discrimination by businesses, or against seniors, I’ll respect Wake up call’s wish.

But as other posters have said, what is “long term” these days? 5 years, 10 years, 15 years? Within such context, what do you mean by being “around for the long term”? Even the Japanese, who married their first job for life have now awakened to the realities of the business world, after their economic down-turn… Do you need a “Wake up Call” Louis?.

Precisely. And that is exactly what hypocrisy means. Now, should we change the law, or should we change the HR departments in every company?

Unfortunately, we cannot change the HR departments because they report to the Company President whose top priority is the ROI. Since HR ‘s paycheck is signed by the President, then what can be done in your view? Ooooh, the ugly sight of rising demand for Employee Union?

Well, considering the fact that you are 64 and living in the US, all you have to do is to hang on to your part-time, underpaid work till next year when you will qualify for Medicare, followed by full Social Security benefits in 2007.
And all this entrepreneurial success stories in the US are fine and dandy until you look at the ratio of the success stories to the failed start-ups. Everyone in the US can start their own “small business”. Just imagine. If all US people over age 25 start their own business and become “successful”, there won’t be any employees around. Come on LouisB joon, get real. Do you want to start a new business at 64 working 60 hours per week for less than minimum wage so that YOU may eventually become successful, or do you want to channel your time and energy at 64 into efforts that will make sure OTHERS after you will not end up with the raw deal you ended-up with?

You are absolutely right. it is tough to prove.

Here you are, in one state, and the culprit is in another state. How are you going to find out that company’s hiring patterns? Are you going to set up a web site, get the list of employees in that company, E-mail each of them and ask for testimonials? Are you going to travel there and stand with your picket sign in front of their door and interview every 55+ year old job candidate that goes in there and ask them to let you know the outcome?

As soon as the Company finds out what you are up to, their lawyers most probably cover their track, creating a paper trail to use in the courts against any possible EEOC investigations. There is no way to win – except promoting the idea of Union?

I didn’t get a “raw deal”; I put myself squarely in the situation I am in and I don’t blame anyone but me. A little alcoholism, a little drug addiction, a blatant extra-marital affair, and a horrendous divorce didn’t help, but there was no “raw deal.” Due to a lot of reasons, none of which really matter, I began drawing SS at 62. SS and a part-time job let me live okay, but not grandly. I want a meaningful job mainly for my own self respect but I know full well it aint gonna happen. I will have my own business within the next year and with a little luck and a lot of hard work, it will prosper and my self esteem will grow along with it.

You seem to be a perfect example of this fact.