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How age bias may keep older workers unemployed

Many older workers in New York hope to stay active in their jobs past the usual retirement age. However, research from an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine, says that it may be difficult for many of them to find work. Along with two other economists, the study sent 40,000 resumes applying for actual job openings. The resumes were all identical except for the ages of the hypothetical applicants.

In general, the call-back rates were lower for older workers compared to younger workers. Furthermore, the call-back rates were lower for older women than they were for older men. While blatantly telling workers over a certain age not to apply for a job is illegal, there are ways that employers may screen out older workers. For instance, they may ask that applicants are only a couple of years out of college.

These were criteria used by R.J Reynolds, and a lawsuit has been filed against the company. While there is only one named plaintiff so far, there are a dozen others who have been contacted about possibly joining the suit. The company claims that the plaintiff can't sue because he waited too long to do so. Also, the company alleges that the federal age discrimination law only applies to those who are employed as opposed to those looking for jobs.

Those who feel like a company made a hiring decision based on their age may wish to file a lawsuit. An attorney may review the case to determine if there is any evidence that discrimination took place. For instance, it may be possible to point to documents outlining discriminatory hiring practices. An attorney may also point to comments made by a manager who claims a person wasn't hired because he or she was too experienced.

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