As Layoffs Rise, So Do Age-Discrimination Charges
New York Times Online (03/18/03) p.A3; Puri, Shaifali

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age-discrimination complaints have risen 24 percent, and experts attribute the increase to the rise in the unemployment rate. Moreover, since over 50 percent of the labor pool is over 40, it stands to reason that more of them would be laid off in tough economic times, but AARP Senior Lawyer Laurie McCann says that older workers are erroneously perceived as costing more, prompting many employers to lay them off first. Additionally, older workers are often perceived as unable to keep up with the latest technologies. Since the federal courts have ruled that economic needs and business strategies are exempt from discrimination laws, more employers are becoming comfortable with the idea of laying off older workers. McCann points out that failure to hire cases are even harder to prove, especially when age discrimination is involved, because many candidates are not given reasons as to why they are not hired.

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