ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Age Discrimination and Senior Citizens

Updated on September 10, 2009
Baby Boomer at Work by acaben
Baby Boomer at Work by acaben

Let's face it. People in America are discriminated against all the time. Sometimes that discrimination is good. Sometimes it is not good for the target but rational and perhaps good for the perpetrator. Sometimes it is not good for anyone, the target, the perpetrator, society, and it is not rational.

No matter how age discrimination is categorized, it is often illegal. And we are a nation of laws. Laws should and must be obeyed, although we have the right to protest laws that we believe are unjust and unfair.

Age discrimination on the job is pernicious. Victims face all sorts of negative results. They lose income, social status, connection with others and sometimes a loss of self-worth. Most seniors want to work and many absolutely need to work. Social Security is often inadequate and many baby boomers will admit they failed to save much for retirement. Often, much of a senior's estate is in the house they live in, and with the housing bust today, it may be hard to realize the gain from that house.

There certainly are often good reasons for letting a senior citizen go. They may have a job that is physically more challenging than they can now do. Worse still, they may be losing some mental function, but that is the exception, not the rule. The rule too often is ageism.

Ageism probably creeps more into hiring than into dismissal. I am certain I was a victim of it as early as age 47, when I applied for jobs that were entry level, jobs where I had performed at the top when I was in my 20s. I suspect the hiring managers had no intent to discriminate on age. They simply could not absent themselves from the mindset of hiring 20 somethings for that particular job. I was going to cost a little more upfront – but would have saved thousands in training and supervisory costs, and I suspect they expected me to yearn quickly to get back on the career path in that profession, so I would not have been a long term hire. The reality today is that 20 somethings rarely stay in a job more than two or three years, and hiring a mature person probably would have meant more stability in the job slot.

In any case, the Age Discrimination Employment Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on age. This act covers a protected class from age 40 to age 70. As an employer you cannot refuse to hire or employ someone based on age. You cannot bar, terminate, or discriminate against someone in promotion, compensation or privileges. As an employer, you cannot indicate a preference, limitation or discrimination based on age.

The reality for an older applicant or employee is that it is almost impossible to prove age discrimination. If this is a road you decide to travel, you must document everything about the situation. Was age mentioned in the interview or hiring process? Was a younger person hired? Was that person as qualified? How many older workers does the company have?

To lodge a complaint, you should contact the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission in your city. The EEOC will help guide you through the process of lodging a complaint if they deem that is a possibility. Many states also have laws against age discrimination, and you may be able to contact a state agency with your complaint.

There are also Federal laws against age discrimination in issues like housing, etc. Of course, you can have a seniors only residence, since you can discriminate against the young.

You can also discriminate based on salary. So, if you are a senior making a fairly high salary, and your employer terminates you to hire someone cheaper, that is legal. It may be a dodge based on age, but it is usually a successful dodge.

What you may well want to do as a senior applying for a job is to address the age issue up front. Show your interest in the job by providing accurate documentation that older workers are just as productive as younger workers, show that you are likely to stay on the job longer, will require less training and supervision, are technologically up to date.

At one time the Japanese had a system of senior mentoring. When a person reached a certain age, they were put on ¾ salary and work hours. They opened space for younger workers and became senior mentors and trainers for those coming up to take their places. This may well be something that the Federal government might want to include in any new legislation on age discrimination, thus giving companies a way to gradually ease the transition of workers from full time work to retirement or part time work.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of jobs out there for you, the senior. Keep looking and you will find one where your talent and experience are appreciated.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      why mc donald does not give achoice when ordering a cup cofee for seniors , you get a small that's it ! dunking dougnuts give you 10% on everything you purchace

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      There are many young minds who are discriminated against on the basis of numerals(age).The retirement age in kerala state (India)is 55.Though Ihad to retireat this age ,Ifeel competent even now (64)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)