Unemployment in a recovering economy can be a daunting prospect for any employee. However, evidence suggests that prospective employees over a certain age may have a particularly difficult time finding work. Though some are hesitant to call it age discrimination, the failure of employers to give adequate and proper consideration to qualified applicants due to their age is just that.
The plight of aging applicants and aging workers generally has not escaped the notice of the nation's lawmakers. Recently, a congressional hearing and a high-profile report both highlighted the prevalence of age discrimination in the American workforce.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week detailing the obstacles that older workers face when seeking employment. However, it can be particularly difficult to prove age discrimination related to hiring decisions. Applicants generally have no access to information about other candidates applying for open positions or what has explicitly fueled the decisions of those who interview candidates for these jobs.
Nevertheless, it is an indisputable fact that even though older workers are currently unemployed at lower rates than younger workers, older workers stay unemployed for longer, despite years of experience. This reality is clear evidence that age discrimination does factor into the hiring decisions of America's companies and corporations.
There is no easy answer as to how we might solve this difficult and complex problem. However, the fact that Congress and the GAO are taking notice of the issue is a step in the right direction; one of change and just treatment for older workers.
Source: Huffington Post, "Age Discrimination's Impact Disputed In Congressional Hearing On Unemployment," Arthur Delaney, May 15, 2012