Four Age-Discrimination Examples That Underline Continued Practice

what_it_takes_to_win_an_age_discrimination_dv2173013_0Age discrimination continues rampant, with new examples surfacing daily across the corporate world, academia and government. Some recent ones clearly underline the seriousness of the overt prejudice against older workers.

The International Business Times, for example, recently noted that, although the U.S.’s youth unemployment rate remains extremely high at 19.2 percent, it is older Americans who are facing a more perilous future of what to do in the last decade or two before retirement age. “Older job seekers not only face persistent age-based discrimination,” the story asserts, “they’re also hit with a second bias against the unemployed who have been out of work for too long.”

“We all know there’s discrimination,” says Peter Sgambati, one of the persons profiled in the article. Out of work for more than a year, he says: “It’s obvious to anyone my age applying for so many jobs they’re qualified for.” To deal with this problem, Sgambati says he reworked his résumé to hide details the clearly divulged his age. His actions included removing the dates he acquired his diplomas, truncating his work history to remove earlier work experience and removing the start and end months from each period of past employment in order to reduce noticeable gaps between jobs.

Meanwhile, Information Week, in an interesting piece, comments that age discrimination in the information technology industry “is at worst rampant and at best misunderstood.” The publication says it reached that conclusion based on the extensive reporting it has conducted on the subject, as well as “the flood” of reader feedback it has received on its coverage.

Indeed, Information Week has published a number of articles vividly detailing the abuses and notes that, while most ageism is subtle, often lurking in disguise as a “culture fit” issue, it’s often right out there in the open.

“Older IT pros on the job hunt might find their age is an unwelcome factor in employment decisions, even when market conditions are favorable,” one earlier story noted. “There’s little hard data on age bias in the IT field, but professionals and recruiters say it’s an industry reality.”

The publication’s conclusion: “It’s also stupid.”

The Motley Fool investment site also is monitoring the topic, contributing a recent  article that points out that several tech companies, including Google, have been sued in the past over allegations of age discrimination. The interesting part of the Motley Fool piece, however, is its referencing the widely read New Republic article that asserts that “perceived ageism has also notably caused the number of plastic surgery procedures among male tech workers to climb in recent years.” The must-read piece begins with surgeon Dr. Seth Matarasso’s classic quote: “I have more botox in me than any ten people.”

More specific to Google, the Motley Fool piece cites the 2010 case of Brian Reed, who sued Google for age discrimination, claiming that co-workers mocked his tech knowledge as ancient and called him an “old fuddy-duddy” and other age-related insults. Reid, a former associate professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, was laid off in 2004 at the age of 52. The case was eventually settled out of court for undisclosed terms.

Finally, the Poughkeepsie Journal, along with several other publications, reported about a former employee of IBM who stated in a federal lawsuit that the company’s hiring of young college graduates while firing older workers violates federal and state laws barring age discrimination. One of the charges in the suit alleges that IBM had a campaign of job advertisements in late 2013 calling for applicants with graduations in 2010 or later.

Pretty blatant stuff.  Just like the other cases.