Study: Age Discrimination Still a Problem

Older workers, particularly women, still encounter discrimination in hiring, according to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Due to the aging U.S. population and the resulting burden on the Social Security system, new federal programs are encouraging workers to stay in the workforce longer. “However,” the study states, “hiring discrimination against older workers creates demand-side barriers that limit the effectiveness of these supply-side reforms.”

Researchers created 40,000 fabricated resumes, identical except for gender and age (indicated by high-school graduation year), and submitted them to 13,000 online job postings, mostly for lower-skilled jobs. Female resumes were submitted for administrative positions and male resumes for janitorial and security jobs; resumes for both genders were submitted for retail sales positions.

Results indicated that as age increased, response rates declined, particularly for female applicants:

Age Discrimination and Hiring of Older Workers

“Our field experiment provides compelling evidence that older workers experience age discrimination in hiring in the lower-skilled types of jobs,” the report concludes. “This evidence implies that there are demand-side barriers to significantly extending work lives.”

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 prohibits discrimination in any aspect for workers over 40, including hiring, firing, promotion, job assignment, pay, training, benefits, layoffs, and other conditions. Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 also protects workers over 40 from discrimination and applies to organizations with 15 or more employees.

Workers in Texas who have been subjected to age discrimination may file complaints with the Texas Workforce Commission, which works in cooperation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to resolve employment discrimination allegations.

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