The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines long-term unemployment as actively searching for a job and remaining unemployed for at least 27 weeks. If you have not found a new position after looking for six months, you may wonder whether your age may have influenced managers’ hiring decisions.
The AARP reports that job applications with coded comments may reflect a bias for recruiting candidates within a certain age group. Employment ads with words such as “recent graduate” or “energetic” may attract younger applicants although those individuals generally possess less experience. If you have reached the age of 40 and possess a significant amount of experience, you may find these recruitment comments offensive.
Age discrimination during the screening process
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes that using certain words to screen out specific groups of job applicants may classify as systemic discrimination. The EEOC’s website provides examples of “systemic” practices which border on violating federal labor laws.
Online applications requiring personality or cognitive tests may screen candidates based on age. Employers sorting through electronic job profiles with artificial intelligence may classify as systemic discrimination. If an employer, for example, programs software to ignore college graduation dates from 20 years ago, it may reveal a hiring bias.
Discrimination during economic downturns
When an employer lays off older workers and does not call them back, it may relate to their age. The ABA Journal reports that some employers use economic downturns to let go of older workers earning higher wages than younger ones. According to the EEOC, employers who hire younger employees to fill older workers’ positions may have violated age discrimination laws.
A legal complaint may force an employer to provide documentation of the titles and ages of laid-off employees. Companies may need to prove they did not discriminate against their employees in violation of federal labor laws.