Cheryl F. applied for jobs at Google four times over the course of seven years. Despite "highly pertinent qualifications and programming experience," however, and despite staff interviewers apparently finding her to be a good fit for the company, she was never hired. She believes that it was because she is over 40.
Earlier this year, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) does not prohibit discrimination against older job seekers -- only existing employees. Although the Seventh Circuit only covers Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, the ruling is final in those states unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns it. Now, the AARP Foundation has asked the high court for a hearing on the matter.
Ever since the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica did an exposé last year, former IBM employees have wondered whether the company's recent global restructuring and layoffs were motivated in part by age discrimination. Now, a group of ex-workers has filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to break down two barriers IBM put in the way of age discrimination claims.
Walmart announced recently that it plans to eliminate the position of store greeter at all U.S. stores, effective in late April. The news came as a shock to many Walmart greeters, especially those with disabilities. In the past, Walmart had been praised for providing viable jobs for people with a variety of disabilities, offering them the chance to represent the company when customers enter the store.
When your organization is interviewing candidates for a position, does it consider whether the candidate will fit into your company culture? If so, have you created clear standards on what constitutes your culture and how a candidate can demonstrate the ability to align with it?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed in 1967. A Labor Department report leading to its passage noted that, at the time, half of all job ads in the private sector explicitly barred applications from people 55 or over. A quarter excluded anyone over 45.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination "because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions." In 2015, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., that employers must offer accommodations to pregnant employees that are at least equivalent to those provided to employees with disabilities.
Can employers legally limit the ages of job prospects by recruiting only on college campuses? Can they cap the years of experience applicants are allowed to have? Can they set up social media recruitment campaigns that exclude older people? Or would taking active steps to minimize a job's visibility to workers over 40 violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)?
When we think about speech protections, we often think of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment only prohibits governmental actors from abridging freedom of speech, so it doesn't apply to private actors such as non-government employers. (The First Amendment does apply to government employers.)
Recently, the independent, nonprofit investigative journalism newsroom ProPublica released a detailed analysis of massive personnel changes at IBM that it believes indicate age discrimination.