Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Age Discrimination Effects all Ages

Age discrimination is nothing new. However, what may be news to you is it isn’t just your typical over 50 crowd who are being targeted; younger workers can find themselves caught up in age discrimination just as easily.

Labor lawyers say employees in their twenties and thirties find themselves more at risk of a layoff. There are many reasons for this such as companies avoiding age-discrimination lawsuits by adopting a “last one in, first one out” policy when conducting their layoffs. Also, younger workers often have a high- maintenance attitude and a poor work ethic that makes it easy for management to let them go. Also adding to the list, younger people are a lot less of a risk for an employer to lay off because states employees typically protect workers 40 and older from age discrimination. Laid off employees younger than the 40 year old benchmark don’t have much backup when trying to file an age-discrimination lawsuit against a company due to the current laws.

Young, childless workers say they feel that they are being targeted during layoffs. While no particular age group is targeted in a layoff, numbers from the Department of Labor speak for themselves. In April of 2009, the unemployment rate for ages 25 to 34 was at 9.6% compared to 4.9% a year earlier while in that same year the age group of 55 and older had an unemployment rate of only 6.2%, which is compared to 3.3% from the year before.

Now, it is not a proven fact that younger workers should be on guard when it comes to age discrimination, but it is important to know that times are changing and that no age is safe. Here are some ways to protect yourself and keep your job.

• Come in early and leave late

• Check, check, and re-check all your work

• Volunteer to do the work that others do not want to do.

• Get certified—Many companies offer free training and certification programs—Take advantage of this!

• Don’t be demanding!

• Make yourself invaluable to the company, for example:
o Cross train in another department
o Learn as much as possible in all areas of the company
o Be willing to relocate ANYWHERE!

• Find a mentor within the company, preferably someone in upper management
• Volunteer on all projects


What do you think? Are you a victim of age- discrimination? Are you a young worker who has a story to tell? Leave me your comments so I can post for others to read.

Carly Sabato

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