In 1967, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act made it illegal for Texas employers to discriminate against employees or potential employees over the age of 40 based on their age. Now, more than 50 years later, the Society for Human Resource Management reports that studies indicate that age discrimination is not going away.
One such study showed that between 1992 and 2016, 56% of workers between the ages of 51 and 61 lost their jobs at least once or else left their jobs while they were in situations where the loss of the income was financially damaging enough to suggest they did not quit voluntarily.
Involuntarily quitting typically occurs in circumstances where an employer makes staying at the job difficult or impossible. For example, employers may reassign workers to jobs or give them tasks that are unpleasant, refuse to provide accommodations in the workplace or give undeserved poor performance reviews.
The financial consequences on the participants in the study were almost entirely negative. Only one out of every 10 workers was able to find a new job making as much as the old job paid.
A Supreme Court decision 10 years ago set the precedent against workers by requiring them to show proof that the employer’s primary consideration in terminating, disciplining or choosing not to hire them was their age. CNBC reports that this could be changing thanks to new legislation approved by Congress: the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. If the bill becomes law, the burden of proof for workers would be simply that age was one of an employer’s reasons, rather than the primary reason, for the negative action.