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Older workers forced to get creative in the face of discrimination

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employers are prohibited from discriminating against people age 40 and older. This means that federal law expressly prohibits discriminatory practices relating to everything from job assignments, promotions and trainings to pay, employment conditions and, of course, hiring.

Interestingly enough, a growing number of older Americans have indicated that they are encountering significant -- yet unspoken -- age discrimination while attempting to find a job. While this is certainly disconcerting under any circumstances, it takes on a whole new significance given the sheer number of people still looking for work in the aftermath of the recent recession.

Indeed, statistics from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco reveal that job seekers age 54 and up are now spending more time than ever between employment, particularly in comparison to their counterparts between the ages of 25 to 44.

Similarly, a recent study by the Brookings Institute verified that older workers who lost their jobs in the recession continue to experience difficulty finding suitable employment.

Compounding problems further, say experts, is that these older workers are also being discriminated against by employers on the basis of their having been out of work for a prolonged period.

Reports indicate that this state of affairs has understandably forced many older workers anxious to find a job to become more creative with their resumes, meaning selectively editing dates in order to prevent being unfairly discounted in the initial screening process.

"People advised me to take 20 years of experience off my résumé,” said one graphics designer from Minnesota. “I certainly don’t want potential employers to know right away that I’m 55 years old. If I put work experience going back to 1985, they’ll do the math and figure out I’m at least 50 years old."

While some might question these creative tactics, most job coaches say they are acceptable so long as the information conveyed is accurate.

Are you an older worker who has spent considerable time looking for employment? Did you feel as if you encountered discrimination during your job hunt?

It's extremely important for anyone who believes that they have been victimized by age discrimination -- or any other type of workplace discrimination -- to remember that they have rights under state and federal law. An experienced legal professional can explain these rights and examine the circumstances of your case.

Source: The International Business Times, "Facing age discrimination, older job seekers edit work history and disguise their ages on resumes," Angelo Young, June 10, 2014

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