As we get older, we become more vulnerable to a host of problems and issues associated with age. Many of these relate to our physical health and are simply an inevitable, if undesirable, part of life. However, what should not be part of the program is discrimination and unequal treatment based on age. Unfortunately, implicit bias against older Americans remains pervasive in a host of contexts, including employment. Now, a recent study suggests that where you live may play an oversized role in whether you experience age discrimination and bias. 

More Implicit Bias Against Older Americans in the Southeast and Northeast

The study, published in July 2020 and funded by the National Institute of Aging, found that unconscious negative attitudes towards aging varied from region to region. Researchers collected data from all 50 states and evaluated the responses of over 800,000 Americans from across the country in a test designed to reveal ageist inclinations. 

The researchers found that unconscious negative bias against older people was most prevalent in the northeast and southeast, with New Jersey, Connecticut, and Mississipi scoring worst in the study. Another state that scored surprisingly low and demonstrated high levels of age bias was Florida, which has a disproportionately large number of retirees. The authors of the study speculated that popular retirement destinations like Florida also often have specific and separate neighborhoods for older Americans, which may diminish the number of positive interactions between younger people and their elders. 

Age Discrimination in Employment Remains a Nationwide Problem

The impact of implicit bias against older Americans can manifest in healthcare and treatment and how seniors see themselves. But it can also impact older Americans who still work for a living or are looking for a new job. Age discrimination in employment is against the law. 

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects certain applicants and employees 40-years-old and older from age-based discrimination in hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, or terms of employment. No matter what state you live in, you may experience such discrimination, even though most employers are too savvy to admit that age is why they made an adverse employment decision.  

According to a 2019 study on ageism in the workplace by insurance company Hiscox:

  • The number of age-related discrimination charges filed with employers and the EEOC by workers aged 65-plus doubled from 1990 to 2017.
  • Forty-four percent of employees report that either they or someone they know experienced age discrimination in the workplace.
  • Twenty-one percent report they faced age discrimination themselves.
  • Thirty-six percent feel their age has prevented them from getting a job since turning 40.
  • Twenty-six percent feel there is some possibility they could lose their current job because of age.
  • Only 40 percent who experienced age discrimination filed a charge or complaint.
  • Employers paid $810.4 million to settle age discrimination charges filed with the EEOC between 2010 and 2018 (excluding litigation).

Questions About Age Discrimination in Employment? Get Answers From a Michigan Employment Lawyer Today

At Sommers Schwartz, we vehemently believe that older Americans deserve to be treated fairly and with respect. When employers violate the law and discriminate against people based on their age, we hold them accountable and get justice and compensation for our impacted clients.

If you feel you have been denied a job or promotion because of your age or have experienced other age-based discrimination, the lawyers in the Sommers Schwartz Employment Litigation Group would be happy to discuss your situation. Please contact us to speak with one of our employment law attorneys today.