All forms of discrimination are disgusting. And employees are entitled to be judged on the merits of their performance, not their race, color, gender, or other irrelevant consideration. But age discrimination is especially egregious for two related reasons.
First, older employees who have been illegally terminated based on their age are less likely than younger employees who have been illegally terminated to be able to find a new job. The law requires people to mitigate their damages. This means that if you are a victim of an unlawful termination, you need to search for a new relatively comparable job to minimize the damages the illegal firing caused you. Unfortunately, there is a stigma against unemployed older Americans. This causes them to have a much more difficult time finding new employment. As such, someone who has been terminated based on age discrimination can sometimes feel the negative effects of that firing for the rest of their working lives.
This leads to the second reason why age discrimination is especially harmful. Americans are working later and later in life. Fewer people are able or willing to retire in their mid-sixties like they were in recent generations. 32 percent of Americans 65 to 69 are currently employed. 19 percent of 70 to 74-year-olds are working, up from 11 percent in 1994. As people work later in life, age discrimination’s negative consequences are felt for longer amounts of time.
Employers who practice age discrimination are only harming themselves. More experienced workers bring valuable points of view. They are more willing to serve as mentors. By terminating or refusing to hire older employees, employers are foregoing concrete benefits simply because of the misconception that younger workers will be better. This misconception, often based on the erroneous belief that younger employees will work harder for less money, ultimately costs employers. And an age discrimination suit, if warranted, will cost them even more.
If you have been terminated or had any negative employment action taken against you based upon your age (or other protected characteristic), Enright Law can discuss your options with you and ensure that you are fully compensated for the damages your employer caused.