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Older workers may face age discrimination from employers

Research led by a professor of economics at the University of California, Irvine, indicates that people who are middle aged or older are less likely to be contacted by an employer in New York or around the country after submitting a resume than individuals who are younger. This was determined by sending out 40,000 resumes applying for thousands of jobs.

The economists running the study used the exact same resumes for the same type of job with the exception of the applicant's age. It was discovered that employers were far more likely to contact individuals who were younger than people who were middle aged or older.

For women, the effect was even more pronounced than it was for men. There was a 25 percent reduction in the contact rate for women who were middle aged compared to those who applied and were younger. For resumes for women who were around 65 years or older, there was an additional 25 percent reduction in the contact rate. This is in spite of the fact that it is against the law to blatantly discriminate against candidates who are 40 years or older.

Employee rights laws protect individuals from a variety of types of discrimination from employers. Along with prohibiting organizations from discriminating on the basis of a person's age, the law also states that employers cannot make hiring, firing or promotion decisions based on someone's race or religion or if they are pregnant. Employers are also not allowed to retaliate against individuals who report instances of discrimination, and a lawyer could help people determine their legal options if they believe they are being discriminated or retaliated against.

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