Older workers have really felt the pinch of the slow economy. The majority of older workers are working well into their retirement years, and the ones who lost jobs during the downturn have had a hard time finding a new job, on average about 53 weeks for an older adult to find a job compared to 19 weeks for a recent graduate. There seems to be a stigma that older workers cost more to employ, due to insurance, skill levels and fear of a quick retirement, as opposed to younger workers. Some of that may be true when it comes to premiums, but older workers are better at training and mentoring and have in general a better sense of the big picture.
In today’s environment, hiring older people can be tricky due to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This act protects workers from discrimination based on age. Because of this act, employers must establish an age discrimination policy that covers all areas of employment, including the hiring process. In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 22, 857 charges of age discrimination (hartfordhelp.com).
Employers should pay close attention to their hiring practices to avoid any signs of age discrimination. The EEOC suggests not having any age requirements, or limitations or suggestions on job postings, ads or within the interview process. While it is not illegal to ask a prospective employee their age or birth date, those kinds of questions could lead to an age discrimination claim and should be avoided.
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