Discrimination Is Hard to Prove, Even Harder to Fix

Jul 22, 2019 · 75 comments
H (Chicago)
If we had single-payer health insurance, how much of the age discrimination in hiring would evaporate?
Woof (NY)
To hen3ry who writes: I went into IT because.. That is a dangerous choice I recently had a discussion with the Dean of highly ranked CS department about the employment of his department's students "They are very well paid " he said, "Until about the age of 45" Should you decide to move into CS/ IT, be aware that after 45 your life will be difficult - unless you made it into top management you likely will be replaced by someone younger, cheaper, not infrequently imported via H1B, or your job may disappear altogether to India IBM Now Has More Employees in India Than in the U.S. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/28/technology/ibm-india.html
James Devlin (Montana)
Here's the USFS's Nondiscrimination Policy for an example of the government's brilliant discrimination contradiction: In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. "...in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs)." That's apparently why it's called a Non-discrimination policy, and not an Anti-discrimination policy So basically, the USFS can't discriminate against you, except where and when it can and wants to. At 35 some employees were told they were too old to hold the job they already had. An arbitrary age, which was proven two years later when it was raised it to 37. Those caught in that trap went without access to retirement and health coverage - for firefighting. Many live with their injuries and pay our of pocket for the privilege.
cek (Albany, NY)
Ondelette's comment is perfectly put and on-target in every way.
Alan Day (Vermont)
The tables turned on me at about age 50; heretofore I had been critical of older colleagues. But once I went past 50, I suddenly realized I was the old guy amongst the youngsters. Fortunately I was able stay on the job until nearly 66. But I know it's there yet I have no idea how to end it.
me (AZ unfortunately)
My first job paid $7600/yr and I decided to save $200/mo (post tax) because even at age 21, I knew savings for retirement shouldn't be put off. As a female in the job market, I absolutely experienced salary discrimination, from the first job to near the last. But I saved diligently and lived modestly, so even after a divorce, I am on my feet financially. Always contributed the max to a 401(k) and took any employer match in full. I retired early and have delayed collecting SSI to get the added 32% boost at age 70 1/2. My advice is to not rely on laws protecting you as an employee. Take care of yourself and financially put yourself first. Invest wisely and consistently. I have no advice for people being discriminated against. It seems to be a brick wall that no one can penetrate.
Can’t Keep Me Down (Cincinnati)
What I really don’t understand is that younger people in HR or hiring managers are going to be older one day and probably in need of a job. Don’t they realize that they are discriminating their future self? I networked with a twenty something HR manager who bragged that he and his company discriminated against people over 50. His jaw dropped when I told him he will be 50 one day and in need of work. Priceless....
David (Kirkland)
@Can’t Keep Me Down You had an HR manager who bragged about violating the law and workers rights and interests? Some company...
Can’t Keep Me Down (Cincinnati)
Very proudly
Quilly Gal (Sector Three)
As a forty-five year old teacher some years ago, I was confronted by a twenty-two year old peer as per my and her techniques. As the Learning Specialist and Social Studies Chair, I held a program for students with learning differences. I also held an undergraduate degree in History with an Anthropology minor and a graduate degree in secondary and post-secondary instruction. She held a bachelor of science in biology. I clearly remember one morning being treated to the twenty-two year old's philosophy of teaching students with differences. She insisted that once she put her hand on the shoulder of a student who was falling behind (as she lectured in class) they immediately got the point and all was well. The administration treated her like a princess. Sigh.
ondelette (San Jose)
One out of three of these cases is actual age discrimination. "You're right, we've clarified..." doesn't begin to make up for the lack of coverage of this type of discrimination for what it is, and the apparently irresistible temptation to move to one of the more exciting and millennial-approved forms of discrimination like gender preference or disability. It would be extremely easy to do a whole cover story for the NYTimes magazine-sized article on age discrimination in a few days by traveling to Silicon Valley, where the practice begins when a person reaches the age of about 45, and starts getting told about how they don't qualify based on age quite directly. I was once told by one of NYTimes' darling SV giant corporations, "We do our hiring in cycles and right now we are cycling towards younger talent." That was after they solicited my CV, not the other way around. But if you don't really want to cover how people are shoved aside in tech, because you yourselves have a too young staff and you're too enamored of your toys and apps, then I guess we'll have to settle for "clarifying" as an excuse why the topic isn't one you want to cover. Just don't expect those who have been hurt by the all digital all millennial conveyor belt that eats people's careers long before they qualify to retire to ever listen to you on you're favorite topics when you tell them how privileged they are. You young journalists have jobs. Many of those you harangue actually don't.
Anon (NJ)
@ondelette Take a look at the stats England required reporting for the wage gap. The US pretends such statistics don't exist and the DOJ is loaded with back scratching cronies protecting the worst of them
Joanna (Denver)
@ondelette Our “favorite topics”? Excuse me? From the Millennial perspective, you seem to have grasped the import of fighting discrimination only because you’ve (finally) entered a demographic that’s affected. Meanwhile, the millennial snowflakes have spent our lives fighting the discriminatory anti-gay and racist policies that the older generations created to make our entire lives miserable from the getgo. I am 35 and nervous that that the Supreme Court will dismantle my marriage and my career any day now, for the horrible offense of not being straight. Age discrimination matters too, but boy howdy! Your comment smacks of Baby Boomer entitlement.
Kate Jackson (Suffolk, Virginia)
I have been recruiting for 20 years; age discrimination is widespread and got much worse and out in the open after the 2009 Supreme Court ruling: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.desmoinesregister.com/amp/1502723001 New York Times—you should cover this topic more. Age discrimination is even worse that it seems.
Jennene Colky (Denver)
The definition of a perfect citizen is someone who retires on Friday and dies on Saturday. I am 70 yo and I find no other way to look at these, and likely other, lawsuits regarding aging than they're hoping you'll die -- preferably soon. America's current form of capitalism allows no place senior citizens, unless, of course, they're running for, or acting as President.
Sam Cheever (California)
Some of these post are hostile to boomers who have ruined the world. I was born in a city in 1960 with three rivers and they were all too polluted to swim in. It was ruined long before I was born. It was boomer women who paved the way for younger women to have a shot at meaningful work. It was hard fought. Promotions were always given to men when I entered the work force regardless of experience and qualifications. It really was the way it worked. My coworker who had a degree in business from a very acclaimed university was told in 1985 to be a receptionist for two years as it would be a good career move. That’s one example of hundreds, literally. The resentment toward a whole generation is short sighted and an easy way to direct frustrations. Boomers and immigrants took our jobs. Get mad at the robot!
Joanna (Denver)
@Sam Cheever You make a fair and valid point. We appreciate those who fought for justice before our time.
TurandotNeverSleeps (New York)
The U.S., unlike other countries, has always valued youth over the experience and expertise of our elders. Meanwhile, venture capitalists and private equity big shots continue to invest in veritable children whose companies burn through huge amounts of cash on a monthly basis, have no proven experience or expertise in running companies, and even aid and abet criminals who tamper with our elections. Let’s keep marginalizing our elders, pampering 20-somethings, and watch them spend our money while valuations plummet and the U.S. becomes even less competitive.
Laura Beeby (Rotterdam)
@TurandotNeverSleeps Unfortunately ageism is global. I'm a Canadian in Holland where, until 2017, an adult wasn't eligible for student loans after the age of 30. They then upped it to 55, but a year too late for me. Long-term, unemployed 50-plussers are a real issue here; it's finally being acknowledged but we're not really the priority compared to other (I admit, equally worthy) groups. Yet they up the retirement age to 67+, change the laws to limit redundancy settlements, then blame the employee for not finding work when all the job ads (legally) boast about their "young, energetic" work culture. A job is a two-way agreement between employer and employee, I thought. My husband, at 62, and me, 58 haven't a clue what to do next. Not like everybody has special skills that can be translated into entrepreneurship. And I have an additional issue in that I'm not fluent in Dutch - I need a job to afford the lessons, but the lessons to qualify for the job. *flips desk*
Mary Crain (Beachwood, NJ)
This is what we all have to look "forward" to as we age; ageism, sexism, and discrimination. How are we to manage our growing elder population and make sure they have the safety and dignity that they deserve? The laws in this country need updating to deal with reality that all of us will some day be old and maybe need assistance. Not just the straight, rich, white people.
Kris Aaron (Wisconsin)
If I needed anything to convince me that physician-assisted self-deliverance should always be a legal option for the aging, it's a horror story like this one. I literally can't imagine anything worse than being old, disabled AND refused a place to live in safety because of who I am and who I love. The behavior of the care centers is disgraceful -- they should be ashamed.
penney albany (berkeley CA)
This is outrageous. In the case of the married women, are residents allowed a room mate? What possible difference does it make to the facility? For the assisted living facility, what part of assisted isn’t understood? we need to do some rethinking of what our life options are.
KTowner (Los Angeles)
Before moving my mom into a Jewish assisted living community, I asked if anyone would care that we’re not Jewish. I was told it was irrelevant: “At this stage, people just want good conversation.” It’s too bad the St. Louis place doesn’t have the same mindset. Its residents would surely benefit.
Mark (New York)
Executives describe him as young whipper-snapper. No technology experiences. No technology education. Appointed to oversee major technology project. The worker bees’ proletariat point out flaws in his assumptions. Silenced. Project late. Check. Project milestones not met. Check. Project over-budget. Check. Millions of dollars wasted at the same time benefits and pensions cut for people making minimum wage. But promotion for young whipper-snappers involved in project. In an organization where two-thirds are older than 40, what is the chance that someone without relevant education and experience would head up such a project? What strikes me about the article is that many, many discrimination cases happen not just at cut-throat Wall Street companies but universities, government entities, and yes, even powerful labor unions. When discrimination is costly for the employees whose interests and benefits you have sworn to protect, is anyone accountable?
Margo (Atlanta)
@Mark I have had several coworkers quit in the past few months - mainly due to the mismatch in what they were hired to do and the work they actually were assigned and their interactions with this manager. Their manager has the same lack of management skills you describe in your comment. Today I inquired about the status of getting them replaced and was told that the manager is only interviewing people with H1b visas. Apparentkt, the Americans who quit were clearly the problem in his view - nothing about the complexity of an application that is uniquely American and requires specialized skills; the main applicant qualification is now holding an H1b visa. The average H1b visa holder is young, male, Indian - this program legitimizes discrimination against Americans in their own country, older workers and female workers. When will this stop? I'm calling my senators and congressman and the WH again to reiterate my demand that this so-called skilled worker visas program be revamped and properly audited.
anthony (Austin)
I believe I lost my job last year due to my age. The company I worked for insisted it was "position elimination" but I was the only person who lost their position. I had 5 years of above-average job evaluations and delivered results above expectations. I tried to sue but learned that I had signed a document when I was hired that forced me to binding arbitration. When I found out how complicated and expensive it was going to be I abandoned my efforts. Let's face it if your boss doesn't like how you comb your hair they will find a way to get rid of you. In my case it was my age
A (On This Crazy Planet)
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is having everyone on staff the same color, generation and background. It's much like eating the same meal every day. The result is that companies don't hear different perspectives from their employees. And ultimately, they don't meet the needs of as many customers as possible. Recently a woman started a company and hired her father. That decision demonstrated that at least one business person realizes the benefits of wisdom and experience. When the HR team is young and the algorithms prevent the resumes from ever reaching the hiring managers, well, age discrimination flourishes. Companies save on medical insurance. But they sacrifice lots more. Anyone who is older who is looking for a job has to be proactive about reaching out to former colleagues. If a former colleague thought you made a positive difference when they work with you, ideally they'll be willing to go to bat for you.
Carrie (Pittsburgh PA)
Healthcare - for the rich, the young and the healthy. Others need not apply.
theWord3 (Hunter College)
Sending lambs into the slaughter house. That's my description of how colleges prepare students for the workplace. There are efforts to teach students to prepare for interviews and write resumes and cover letters and how to conduct themselves at interviews. But nothing to prepare for the kind of age discrimination described in this article and the racial discrimination, sexual discrimination & harassment, bigotry and workplace bullying ubiquitous in the job market. Smarter, savvier college educated students about the realities of the workplace could make a difference in making America a great place to work. I based this on my "real world" learning experiences and empirical observations (and lots anecdotal) and what I've also seen of lone wolves in college career services do and have done to help students prepare. Maybe it should start in high school. Hmmm
VB (New York City)
If Age, Sex, and Disability Discrimination is difficult to combat then the Racial Discrimination that allows employers all over America and more blatantly in the South to hire only , or mostly White People most be impossible to combat . What about the Racial Discrimination that allows White Americans to keep their neighborhoods and schools segregated should we consider this " a difficult process " like characterized in the beginning of this article , or is something like Racism too widespread among White Americans to even try and combat ? After all we are now preparing to elect again a racist President . I'm not a lawyer , but I bet those less obvious and therefore more esoteric forms of discrimination would be considered a walk in the park compared to lawsuits that combat the racism that Europeans brought to the New World that remains as American as apple pie .
Richard Figueroa (Washington DV)
Discrimination of any type is very hard to prove. It took me ten years to win a discrimination suit against the State Department. No law firm took my case, so I had to proceed pro se. I lost at every stage, including before the EEOC, until I reached the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Finally, in May of this year, the DC Circuit ruled in my favor - that the State Department denied me a promotion in 2008 because of my Hispanic ethnicity. I’m grateful to the court for recognizing the legitimacy of my claim, but it was a long, extremely difficult, and very lonely struggle. Even with my win, I will never recover a decade’s worth of service, and in that sense, a victim of discrimination can never be made whole again.
MC (Charlotte)
It's funny to see companies fall all over young people, then complain when they have very high turnover and "can't find experienced workers", while dumping the resumes of older workers with experience and proven longevity at jobs in the trash. What employers want is the talent/experience/loyalty of a 50 year old, for the price of an intern and the image of an instagram model. They also don't want to put any effort forth in training people- maybe that 50 year old you are trying to push out would be more useful if you put a couple grand into training her. Or heck, train that fresh out of college kid. But I guess it is just easier to go get the contract workers here on H1B visas. I think the new normal is that everyone needs to be prepared to be self employed. Whether you are a college grad trying to find full time employment or 50 something, chances are you will have a significant period of time where you do not have a good quality full time job. The greatest challenge for the 50+ crowd is health insurance- you can do pretty well with experience and having a couple of part time jobs/contract work, until you go to pay for health insurance. If we took that $1000 a month expense away, it would be more feasible.
David (Kirkland)
@MC Yet, when we started our company, we wanted to actively look for retirees to tap their wisdom and expertise at a reasonable rate. But AARP and other local "we're here for the older Americans" refused to allow us to reach their base. It was all about the money for them too. So if the groups that pretend to be for older workers won't do anything to help older workers, why do you think others will go out of their way to do so?
Berkeley Bee (Olympia, WA)
@David I hope one organization’s reticence did not stop you from your mission to hire older workers. Yes?
Crying in the Wilderness (Portland, OR)
@MC Great, and accurate post. And you'd better save a lifetime's worth of money by the age of 50!
Jonathan Ben-Asher (Maplewood, NJ)
Correcting for a typo: Employee-side lawyer here. I've found that age discrimination is endemic in hiring and firing. Some of it comes from the false belief that older employees aren't as efficient, productive or tech savvy as younger people. Some comes from young people being more comfortable with their peers. Some comes from companies not wanting to have younger managers supervising older subordinates. Some comes from the bias that older candidates are over qualified, or would be too expensive. Talk to many people in their 50s and up who've been laid off. They will tell you that their job applications don't get answered, and they're desperately trying to make a living as a consultant. The tough burdens of proof under ADEA, and many courts' willingness to dismiss cases on summary judgment, make litigation of these cases difficult.
Larry (San Francisco)
I get so upset when people use "the biblical definition of marriage" as their reason to discriminate against LGBT people. What hypocrisy, no asks, "WTF is the biblical definition of marriage? Abraham had 2 wives and since he started everything, God seemed to be fine with that. Kings David and Solomon had many wives and concubines and God did alright by them. People who use the bible as an excuse for their actions are just plain hypocrites. They use what they can and ignore the rest.
Jonathan Ben-Asher (Maplewood, NJ)
Employee-side lawyer here. I've found that age discrimination is endemic in hiring and firing. Some of it comes from the false belief that older employees aren't as efficient, productive or tech savvy as younger people. Some comes from young people bring more comfortable with their peers. Some comes from companies not wanting to have younger managers supervising older subordinates. Some comes from the bias that older candidates are over qualified, or would be too expensive. Talk to many people in their 50s and up who've been laid off. They will tell you that their job applications don't get answered, and they're desperately trying to make a living as a consultant. The tough burdens of proof under ADEA, and many courts' willingness to dismiss cases on summary judgment, make litigation of these cases difficult.
L Brown (Bronxville, NY)
We need something like the Equality Amendment to give marginalized people some legal protections against discrimination. I feel so sorry for those two older lesbian women who had to struggle with homophobia for all these years before they could legally get married- only to find out that their marriage just adds another way for them to be discriminated against. If a heterosexual married couple is allowed to live there, a gay or lesbian married couple shouldn’t be treated any differently. We can all say “it gets better” until the cows come home, but this older couple is running out of years for it to get better. The House passed an Equality Amendment (that the Senate killed). 2020 is when we should be choosing more brave politicians who will take action on this issue.
Corbin Fisher (Houston)
I see lots of blame for 30 HR workers and none for the Boomer CEOs and stock holders. This generation got wealthy beyond all other generations, had 45 years of time to prepare. I'm sorry you can't afford your luxury lifestyle but maybe that 30yo in HR can buy your old mansion since they're STILL making less money than you and living at home. Those kids are more qualified than you and work for less money. Welcome to the other side. We warned you about it but you didn't listen.
@Corbin Fisher - Do you actually believe that all boomers are wealthy? Do you think they are all CEOs? What is wrong with you?
John Palmieri (New York)
I have been part of a class action suit for age discrimination against the federal government since the mid-1990’s. Still waiting as some of the people in this class pass away.
Companies want young workers with fresh and modern ideas, but with the youth of the workers comes a lack of experience. This is not to say that workers over the age of 50 do not have talent and good ideas, but I believe if companies had an equal ratio of youthful to more aged workers, a companies workforce could be brilliant. While it may be cheaper for companies to hire younger workers in the short term because you may be able to pay them less with the excuse of lack of experience or less to pay for health insurance. But, if you think about the long term of hiring older workers, companies could spend less on training, because they already have some type of experience. With that, you could make a profit sooner, with getting the work started quicker. It is interesting to that companies would rather have a fresh face, rather than more experienced plans and ideas.
Andy Deckman (Manhattan)
@MS The beauty of the free market is that you can go out, plant your flag and try these ideas for yourself. That few employers adopt them could mean a huge market opportunity. Or perhaps they know something you do not ....
Andy Deckman (Manhattan)
Age discrimination is the rule rather than the exception in today's hyper-competitive labor market. Plan accordingly - without any expectation of protection under the law. (it is of course not what you know but what you can prove - which is almost always nothing) If you prefer French labor laws, well, you know....
David (Kirkland)
Discriminating thoughts are key to survival and advancement. Lack of discrimination results in mediocrity. If better workers are in fact being discriminated against, there's a market for taking those workers and competing and winning. If not, well, you just have good decisions being labeled as bad by do-gooders who think being kind is how you create a business with all of its risks and competitive and economic pressures.
Sally L. (NorthEast)
Capitalism is built on a house of cards mentality. Hire young and vibrant workers (talent) that will move on in a couple of years. It is the people of experience who are valuable. But I think the house of cards is built on purpose. Keep people moving, move along there is nothing to see here, books are cooked, the management get richer and if they are caught, they move on too. It is the American way. Kudos to the people who sued and won, it takes a lot of courage.
David (Kirkland)
@Sally L. In general, older people are paid more and have fancier titles. Their wisdom and experience is valuable. In some jobs, perhaps that's not the case. But if there are all those top talents out there for cheap because they are being discriminated against, you know a great source of productivity that can generate wealth, so do it.
K (Canada)
Why is the system like this? Start at the bottom as a fresh grad, struggle for a few years because all entry level jobs need "prior experience" these days and so you supplement your resume with unpaid internships. You finally get to where you want to be after x amount of years only to struggle again to prove your worth in late middle age against layoffs and being seen as obsolete. Why is everyone so devalued in some way by the job market? It's sad. No wonder people work for themselves.
hen3ry (Westchester, NY)
I am 60 years old. I changed careers when I was 39 because at that point I had too much experience for most employers to hire me. That was in 1997. I went into IT because it would make use of the skills I had utilized in biological research. I had to start over again at the very bottom of the salary and career ladder. As a woman in heavily male fields I was not mentored or paid very well. I spent 13 years at a well known Japanese company. They "downsized" me when I was 3 months shy of 55. Since then I have had to move back into my elderly mother's home, stop taking care of my health, forget about saving for retirement, and try with not enough success to find a decent job. I found a few but because of money problems the jobs didn't last. Now if I get to a face to face interview I see the look of shock on the younger interviewer's face: grayish hair, some wrinkles, ugh. Their sole thought appears to be "how can I get rid of the old person sitting opposite me" rather than what skills does this mature individual have that we can use. I was 30 too. I don't remember treating my elders with such scorn and disrespect. I valued their experience and picked their brains. America values no one but the white rich males. Males are valued more than females. Older females are invisible. It's hard to prove discrimination when you're invisible and you're worried about surviving until you can draw Social Security.
Denise (Chicago)
The 1964 Civil Rights Act that many blacks fought and died for are less likely to be protected from discimination than elderly whites that discriminated against blacks. We all get old if we are fortunate. We cannot all be black.
karen (bay area)
USA is saying make people work till 70; don't collect social till older than that. But many people can't work, others can't get hired. Where is the payback for a life of effort?
American (Portland, OR)
They hope you die early of despair and won’t ever collect a penny of your social security. The corporate world has stripped the heart out of America.
VB (New York City)
If Age, Sex, and Disability Discrimination is difficult to combat then the Racial Discrimination that allows employers all over America and more blatantly in the South to hire only , or mostly White People most be impossible to combat . What about the Racial Discrimination that allows White Americans to keep their neighborhoods and schools segregated should we consider this " a difficult process " like characterized in the beginning of this article , or is something like Racism too widespread among White Americans to even try and combat ? After all we are now preparing to elect again a racist President . I'm not a lawyer , but I bet those less obvious and therefore more esoteric forms of discrimination would be considered a walk in the park compared to lawsuits that combat the racism that Europeans brought to the New World that is as American as apple pie .
Seethegrey (Montana)
Age will be another one of those categories easily blamed for misfortune. "I lost my job; it must be because I'm older." Likely true in some cases. In many others, it's perhaps more because the elders-boomers--who warped society to their liking at each stage of life they passed through--consider(ed) workers as fungible widgets. The young-desperate pre-trained in tech and the latest lean six sigma protocols, and willing to be slaves to 'get in the door' are less expensive than the old-desperate needing re-training, demanding humane conditions and expecting to have a life. The workers/bosses who grew up in a piranha culture, now the 'gig-economy' can't be expected to prize things like loyalty or history, just the here and now.
Josiah (Olean, NY)
@Seethegrey "the elders-boomers--who warped society to their liking at each stage of life they passed through"--This is an example of age discrimination.
Roxy (CA)
In my late 50s, I served in an temporary capacity providing resources to cancer patients at the center that had actually treated me for cancer. While on a two-week leave to help with a family member's medical issue, I was told they no longer needed me. Turns out I had been replaced by a 20 y.o. college student on their summer break. I still love my doctors there, but these uncaring 30-something administrators do little to strengthen or improve the facility or show real concern for the patients. The sick and old are just commodities or diminished resources to them. Sadly, this attitude isn't limited to the medical field.
rainbow (VA)
As a condition for getting an "enhansed" retirement package (full salary for half time teaching in the last year of employment) I was required to sign a document stating that I wouldn't sue my university for age descrimination. Oh, but I wasn't "fired" because of age but because there was no institutional need for my services, in spite of outstanding reviews. This is how universities get rid of faculty.
Paul (Brooklyn)
Age discrimination is our new minority, female etc. discrimination. It is widespread, institutionalized, accepted, and ugly. The problem this offended group has is that after they sue, they are usually bought out till retirement and told to shut up and being seniors they can't take it anymore and accept it thus the discrimination continues. That is why it is so widespread and hard to cure.
Al (NYC)
@Paul The "old white men" minority still fares much better than blacks (of any age and gender) and younger white women. But they must like the discrimination because they were the strongest Trump supporters in 2016 and the Trump administration has done everything to make discrimination suits much more difficult.
Paul (Brooklyn)
@Al-Thank you for your reply. You are mixing up two things, one you are right and one you are wrong. It is true that older white men (and women too, white women in general voted for Trump) will vote against their own interests. AnothercCase in point is ACA is very popular in conservative states but these states vote for pols. that want to kill it. However, don't mix social engineering and identity obsession with discrimination. One group of people will always do better or worse than another for many reasons other than discrimination. Just about every group, male, female, white, black, young,old has "played the card" in this country at some point claiming discrimination. Time is critical too. A group that was discriminated against at some time in our country is not anymore but people will play the card and pit one group against another.
SW (Sherman Oaks)
Being older doesn’t make you more or less capable, it just makes you older. What I don’t understand is that the younger people participating in the discrimination are setting up their own disastrous future-do they think that they won’t get old and be forced out?
icl (MD)
@SW It's often said that many Americans are "temporarily embarrassed millionaires" who vote for lower taxes on the wealthiest out of a conviction that they will someday be among them. Younger generations (including younger X-ers like myself) have been encouraged to see themselves as temporarily embarrassed entrepreneur/founders. Age discrimination will not be a problem for them because they will have long since retired after selling their wildly successful startup.
Zydeco Girl (Boulder)
I have a B.A. from an Ivy League school, a law degree, a Masters degree, and have applied for scores of jobs and can't get hired as dog catcher. The only option is to open my own business(es). I notice even "broadminded" people like Seth Meyers and to a lesser extent Stephen Colbert mocking older age people on late night TV. To the millenials, etc. who laugh, it's gonna be mighty hot when you're my age.
mt (Portland OR)
@Zydeco Girl Those shows also mock people in service industries as being losers. Our capitalist system magnifies the pecking order of “winners” and “losers”.
J. G. Smith (Ft Collins, CO)
Age discrimination is rampant and grossly under-reported. That's because the ways the discrimination is applied are subtle. There's also a widespread bias among millennial. There's verbal abuse by them in the form of jokes, remarks, criticisms, etc. It can get ugly for the older person. This is all the fault of the corporations and companies, who do not set and enforce behavior rules and do not control the informal culture of the organization. The informal culture takes place in the lunchroom and smoking areas. If you want to know about discrimination...hang out there! I think the only solution is for companies to set up a leadership model of older employees...they are the most important mentors...we value them...during the hiring orientation. And fire anyone who rejects or abuses that. There has to be a clear message that there is zero tolerance. Of course, this means the company's executives must abide by this. Hopefully, there are older and wiser executives!!
Anon (NJ)
@J. G. Smith Unfortunately, the instructions come from the top. No women over child bearing age. There are plenty more ethical bars to entry. Just look at all the big names wrapped up with Epstein for decades! You are either in or you're out. It's a shame so many have taken part. Who will start cleaning house?
M.R. Sullivan (Boston)
"The facility declined their application, mailing to the couple a copy of its cohabitation policy defining marriage as “the union of one man and one woman, as marriage is understood in the Bible.” Marriage is a legal status conferred by the state. A health facility cannot define it. Do you think a Catholic nursing home would ask am elderly married couple if 50 years beforethey had been ineligible for a church wedding because one had a previous divorce? A facility might want residents sharing an apartment to be related, but they cannot negate a legal marriage.
Anne (Oakland, CA)
@M.R. Sullivan Also, the Bible doesn't say anything about marriage being between one man and one woman. Marriage in the Bible is generally between one man and multiple wives--Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
Glenda (Texas)
@M.R. Sullivan You are correct, marriage is conferred by the state. The church defines marriage as a sacrament, the state as a legal status. If you are married by a minister who does not hold a license to marry, you are not legally married---your marriage is a sacrament.
A Goldstein (Portland)
“You make your plans and then life happens.” I used to think that truism applied to illness, accident and the weather but not the things I thought I had a right to trust in like the rule of law. I wish the best for these victims of religion based discrimination and injustice.
knockatize (Up North)
How is the Missouri case an age-discrimination case? It's certainly a sexual-orientation discrimination case, but that would be the subject of a different article.
Paula Span (New Old Age columnist)
@knockatize You're right; we've clarified the headline. All the plaintiffs are older adults, but one case is about age, one about sex/sexual orientation, one about disability.
canoe (CA)
The recession totaled me much more thoroughly simply because I was 53 years old when the 2008 meltdown occurred. I had spent my career swinging from RN, to healthcare analyst to consulting NGOs and raising millions of dollars for causes. With the meltdown funding dried up and projects put on hold. Suddenly I was competing for jobs with people taking early returement and selling their Brooklyn walk up for 10 million and taking my potential job in Portland, Oregon or Seattle for coffee money and a "way to give back". Then there were millions of young folk willing to do my work for half the wage. Npo body wanted granny among their staff. I held on, eventually working seasonal jobs, taking crummy contracts for a little pay here and there--gladly I might add. I eventually got SNAP Food Stamps. All of this time, YEARS, I pounded the pavement and utilized Indeed, Monster, and many other jobs sites. Last year I gave up on my career and education. I have tracked the 300 plus applications, the job interviews, the correspondence because I knew some would never believe a person with my background could not find work. I gave up last year when i reached the age of siling for early SSI. I cried hard when it came. It was enough security to allow me to breathe, and I relocated to a small town and now I sleep over at an elderly persons home for a little money, enough to pay rent on a cottage. Cheap food here, and the relief of having the wolf from the door is like a religious experience.
stuckincali (l.a.)
@canoe My sister tried to get full time employment for 12 years after she was laid off-only could get seasonal retail. She turned 62, and started pulling social security; I pay most of the bills, and will never be able to support the 2 of us if I ever retire. It is not right,but it is what is happening right now...
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