The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Chapter 151B of Massachusetts protect employees age 40 years or older from workplace discrimination based on age. A recent study co-authored by Ohio State University Professor of Sociology, Vincent Roscigno, concluded that workers 50 years old or older face a higher incidence of termination. The study analyzed complaints filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission from 1988 through 2003 where either: (1) Probable Cause for discrimination was found, or (2) the employer settled the matter before litigation. Overall, the study evaluated over 2,181 age discrimination claims.
The study revealed that employees who were close to turning 50 years old or 60 years old had the highest incidence of complaints. Roscigno theorized that companies’ desires to lower healthcare and pension costs has created a spike in age discrimination complaints among workers near 60 years old. The study also revealed a sampling of the stereotypes that older workers continue to face:
In one case a 64-year-old director of finance was discharged after being told she was too old and un-trainable for computer school.
More information about the age discrimination study can be found from OSU’s website in an article entitled, Nearing Age 50 or Retirement? Watch out for Discrimination.