Work & Money

Someone’s Done the Homework on Job-Related Age Discrimination

You’re lucky—or in denial—if you’ve never felt slighted, excluded, or dumped on at work because you’re old; if you’ve never felt blocked from promotion or unofficially demoted because you’re old; if you have never been laid off because you’re old. In a recent AARP survey, 34 percent of respondents reported that they or someone they knew had been discriminated against at work because of age during the four years prior. But how many of the 34 percent do something about it?  And what can you do?

Luckily, has done the homework.

First the bad news: Proving age discrimination when you’re let go is much harder than proving discrimination on the basis of race or gender. That’s partly because of a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that said your employer doesn’t have to show it would have taken action regardless of age, even when you have evidence that age was a motivating factor. In fact, it’s now on you to prove that age was the only motivating factor.

Now the good news: In March, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that if a layoff looks neutral, but its impact isn’t, it might be discriminatory. In other words, it’s only “facially neutral.”

Not ready to suck it up? Here’s a quick tour of Bankrate’s step-by-step.

  1. If your boss’s pattern of layoffs hits highly paid workers who are also older, he may have been discriminatory even though it’s “facially neutral.” You have to then prove that most of the people laid off by this employer are older. That means gathering evidence. LinkedIn could be your best friend.
  2. With your evidence, file a charge of age discrimination with the EEOC.  It could take a couple of years for agency to investigate. You don’t need a lawyer to file.
  3. If the EEOC says there may have been discrimination, you’ll need to find a lawyer, and you will probably have to pay a retainer upfront.
  4. If the EEOC says there was no discrimination, you can still sue the employer, as long as you didn’t sign a severance agreement. Again, that’s an upfront lump sum to the attorney.
  5. If you can’t or don’t want to pay a lawyer hundreds of dollars per hour for a return that could be two years or more coming, you can try free mediation courtesy of the EEOC. Employers generally accept the invitation to mediate because it’s cheaper than going to court.

Click here to read the whole article on

Have you experienced age discrimination at work?  Please share your story in the comments box below.





5 responses to “Someone’s Done the Homework on Job-Related Age Discrimination

  1. the eeoc won’t help you if you are white and especially if you file for age discrimination. And employers absolutely blackball and retaliate so you will never work again. You will be lucky if you can get social security after a suicide attempt – you will lose everything. The eeoc is racist and wont help you- heed my words. when you lose everything and want to kill yourself, make sure to tell someone in authority so you get that check. You have no future and nobody is fighting for your rights. Give up- it is futile. Just get welfare and disability- dont bother no lawyer will take your case and the government only takes cases for rich doctors or minority clerks at family dollar or go daddy. Fuck you, eeoc. i slit my throat just to get a check so I wont die on the street. eat my student loans and debts america

  2. I will never work again because I went to the EEOC. One day after simply mentioning that only younger new hires were promoted (after I trained them) more than 4 times in a year, after I had worked at this employer for 8 years, my hours were cut from 30 to 8 a week. I lost my home and lived in my car from 2011-2013. two years, folks. I found two other jobs and both abruptly terminated me after months of satisfactory work. One of those jobs actually told me they “knew all about” me complaining to the EEOC. The EEOC strung me along, never investigated anything, and gave me a right to sue- I was by then homeless and living on 50 dollars a month in food stamps and my wits. The EEOC doesn’t give a hoot for you especially if you are white and college educated- yet they are in court fighting over clerks fired from dollar stores every day- and im not saying they don’t deserve justice, but I owe 20 thousand dollars for school- the school I attended at the employers urging 5 years before. there is something fundamentally wrong with the justice system- if you are a federal employee, you have unlimited and guaranteed access to make and have civil rights complaints heard- yet for the rest of us its “right to work”- no union for us- and “at will”- when someone is immediately demoted for making a simple statement about unfairness and age, in a just society this is prima facie. employers know that nobody who is filing a truly fair discrimination or retaliation complaint will have access to funds for an attorney by the time they are through destroying that persons job and life. only vindictive people who can afford to hire a lawyer are able to obtain justice- and yet, to me, a 50 year old woman with a masters degree and a spotless 8 year work history who within months winds up literally living in the street deserved at least a fair investigation. Unfortunately, the EEOC gives priority to cases involving racial minorities- and frankly, historically, I more than anyone want fairness for anyone who is judged and discredited because of their skin- every time I imagine how it would feel to have someone hate me on sight and feel no shame for it, I cringe and feel tearful. But I went to great length to make a legally sound and valid charge. I know the law inside and out, after this. I thought I mattered- someone who went from welfare to work and worked incredibly hard. I was with that employer my entire professional career- how else do I prove I have experience other than to show I worked for them? I went days without food folks. I even was a quasi-prostitute simply to survive- im lucky at that age I could actually find selfish and entitled men to even want me- that’s how demoralized I was. Unless you can afford to file a lawsuit, please be very careful in making charges to the EEOC. it may be illegal to blackball you to future employers but ask yourself, who is checking? There are literally no controls for employers other than the legal expectation that employers will not disobey the law. That assumption is so strong especially now when corporate corruption is rampant- that the onus is always on you- and employers are given the benefit of the doubt. There is no method or mechanism to keep employers honest. and I cant tell you how many times someone has whined “employers cant say anything during a reference check except dates/rehirability”. This is false. If you sign any disciplinary record acknowledging it, you have agreed it is true and employers can report this to anyone they please. If you don’t sign a false accusation, you are fired for insubordination. Win-win, right? LOL! Do you really think if an employer tells another employer that you went to the EEOC and complained that the prospective employer is going to tell you about it? Seriously? The only people guaranteed a hearing for a discrimination complaint are rich angry assholes and federal; employees and they are given this at your expense- remember, rich people pay less taxes. Because you think its better not to have unions and trust employers to follow the rules. LMFAO. I am over 50 years old and my chances of getting a job are halved every year past 50. I have suffered a nervous breakdown and hope to receive disability because I have no future and cannot survive anymore without it. Ihave applied for over 3000 jobs with not one response. I never dreamed this would happen to me. I was the top of my class when I went to school- I was over 40 years old, the oldest in the class raising a child by myself. I didn’t think age discrimination was real, either. After I graduated I worked two jobs, 80 hours a week, for 8 years. Eight years, people. I quit one of the jobs so I could have a normal life. I picked the wrong job to keep. Within 3 months I was evicted, broke and in despair. I had to keep showing up for my 8 hours- it was all I had to live on. I was shunned by everyone- ordered not to speak to me. people I had been friends with and worked beside for 8 years. When I lost my home I lost my daughter and I have never seen her since. She hates me because I had to place her in a foster home. We lost our beloved dog. I lost every single thing Id ever bought. Everything. And no matter what, I remained diligent in pursuing justice with the EEOC. About the time that I was suddenly given a right to sue, the news had said the EEOc was throwing out hundreds of cases. Guess mine was one. If they had done their job even a little, the employer would have agreed to conciliate or mediate. Instead they laughed in my face. its funny because I had participated in an investigation of discrimination and retaliation at that same job on behalf of a Hispanic male employee- the EEOC actually did an investigation and swiftly determined the same managers had discriminated and retaliated. Nobody ever investigated my complaint even knowing that I had risked a great deal to help that employee and it was highly likely that their retaliation was enhanced by that case. They didn’t do one damn thing to investigate. And sadly, I think it is because I am a white college educated female. I refuse to be bitter toward minorities because of this- but I believe the government I this country counts on race-hatred and resentment to keep people from focusing on who they should be watching and blaming- which is the government itself. I think I should be commended because I am not bitter despite all I have lost. Could you see yourself doing the same? Come on, now- you compete with your neighbors to have better things- see, I win because I fought like hell for justice and I am not bitter and blame nobody. Many people insinuate I should have “just let it go” and that’s whats wrong with this country- if “letting it go” guarantees you a decent life and the posessions you crave, If I had the chance now I would be just like you- but not out of fear, because I don’t care about you anymore- I fought for justice and I am proud I did and not ashamed to be someone you think is beneath you because I cant find a job. I know that historically and inversely maybe my skin color warrants the dismissive apathy from the EEOC that my case received- and it hurt. I respected and admired Jacqueline Berrien. I respected the people I met with to file my charge. It is painful to sometimes wonder if they called me a cracker and threw my charge in the trash- that’s how I feel I was treated and I guess hooray hope you enjoy being a racist as much as white assholes enjoyed it all these years. I accept being a victim of revenge reverse racism. I just wish my tragedy meant the score was settled and our society could become what it should be. I do matter, you know. And my life is utterly destroyed and I am totally useless and an absolute failure because I wouldn’t let someone discriminate against me. And also, after the racial discrimination suit was settled, the one I gladly participated in obtaining justice for my Hispanic coworker, that manager was fired and the new manager was Hispanic. He only hired or promoted Hispanics, can you imagine. I was too ashamed to say he was a reverse racist to the EEOC. He liked younger Hispanic men- I didn’t say he was sexist either. I said what I knew was provable beyond any doubt- I was qualified and older and he was waiving qualifications to hire the “most energetic person”. Exact words to the EEOC. Energetic. A dog-whistle word that many courts have openly recognized as evidence of bias. Not even this statement given by the employer to the EEOC compelled any interest whatsoever. I sincerely hope my race did not cause this dismissive attitude. I wont know, but I feel it.
    But can you imagine if your entire history in this country was tainted with racism? I accept the failure of the EEOC because to them, I am just a white person, I guess. My life is completely destroyed and I wont ever have a place to live, or my family, I can never pay my debts. I don’t want a handout, but ill be damned if I die because I get judged by people who aren’t in my place. I worked harder than anyone I know to be successful. I didn’t want much. I loved my profession and I wanted to send my daughter to college. She works at a Mcdonalds and is a street performer at those art fairs and carnivals you buy pretty things at. Everyone should be in my place- complaining when employers discriminate against themselves or anyone else. I walked my talk, and I don’t regret it. I simply want people to understand that no matter how indignant you are, I guarantee youll wind up crushed and insignificant if you expect the government to care about you if you don’t have any money. They dont and they profit more if they throw you in prison or an asylum than they do giving a rats ass about your hard work or heartache. Simply put, the government doesn’t give a shit about you and you made that possible when you dismantled unions and trusted employers like you do. If you worked for the government and you were pissed because someone stole a damn paperclip, youll get your fair hearing. All day every day the court system is there for federal employees. Not for you. And when you get old, you are a liability and your employer will find a way to get you gone. And don’t you blame Obama orgive your usual other simplistic reasons for this- blame yourself. I bet if you called for a reference and an employer told you the prospect was a “whistleblower” youd thank him and reject that person. I bet you’ve kept silent watching someone be bullied or treated unfairly at your job and frankly, looks like you are the smart one, right? I guess I am stupid as can possibly be because I do have so much heartache for all I lost, for how my daughter was hurt, how many people blame the victim or apply a just-world hypothesis to me- and after eight years working for that tax-exempt place- a p[lace that ponied up 300 grand admitting they did exactly what they did to me- you know how it feels to know that I don’t matter because of my race? like some kind of payback landed on me? I feel sad that this shit still happens to anyone and that the government thinks its fundamentally fair to turn away from me because of my race. And this huge employer already guilty as hell is suddenly not even suspected of repeating the same vindictive and stupid behavior they displayed because why? My skin color? what the hell is wrong with all of us. I refused to eat some very unfair shit and im proud I tried. And feeling like I shouldn’t have stood for justice makes me glad I will have to live off of you now that Im blackballed. So don’t cry when you get screwed and if you have a home your family and money thank God because I don’t and it is not fair. Be warned, folks. You will NOT get any justice on an age discrimination complaint especially if you are white. And if you file, you will be blackballed. If you are a professional especially in a hospital, you wont ever work in your profession again.

    1. update folks- still dont have a job. probably never will. had a nervous breakdown and was in a psych ward for months. i think ill end up back there except i have a rich married guy giving me money and i get by. Nice, with all my education, huh? dont file with the eeoc if you are white or you better look decent and get ready to suck it literally to survive

  3. I was fired by a nursing home administrator that has an unconcious bias toward the protected class. 5 nurses over the age of 50 were fired while none under the age of 50 were fired! You would think that the first qualification of a nursing home administrator would be empathy for the aging population! But, in researching the requirements for NH administrators, intelligence nor empathy make the top five list!!! OUCH! Who wants to go be a resident in a nursing home where age bias runs rampant?!

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