Most labor economists and discrimination lawyers accept that in today’s world, workplace discrimination plays a major factor in the career market. Numerous experiments have been performed to show that minority groups struggle to gain equality in the workplace market due to discrimination based on gender, race, age, sexuality, and more. In regards to age discrimination, the question in place is do employers discriminate against two equally qualified employees of different ages?
David Neumark and colleagues from the Los Angeles Times conducted an experiment to test this discrimination question. They created realistic resumes for fake people in their 30’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Roughly 40,000 applications were sent to around 13,000 job openings for low-skilled jobs that hire many employees, with the hypothesis in place that older women and men may face age discrimination compared to the younger age categories.
After the test, the results confirmed that immense workplace discrimination based on age is present in the market today. Consistently, the youngest group had a callback rate of 14% to 32%. But, for 65 year olds, the callback rate was half—7.6% to 14.4%. While these applicants had similar skillsets and both were overly qualified for each job, the youngest applicants appear to get the most callbacks, and ultimately, hires. In addition, middle-aged applicants also received fewer callbacks compared to the youngest group. This experiment confirmed that the job market faces age discrimination everyday, along with the other types of workplace discrimination based on age, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Not only was age discrimination present, but this experiment explored gender employment discrimination as well – showing that women faced more age discrimination than men. Callback rates for older women were far less than those for older men. Neumark also explains the psychological factor that physical attractiveness sometimes will boost hiring chances. So, as women get older, the less likely they are to be hired compared to their male counterparts.
Moreover, while this experiment displayed immense data supporting workplace discrimination, legal protections against age discrimination for women tends to be sparse and inadequate. The laws that protect against gender discrimination and age discrimination are different; it can be a challenge to take legal action against both.
Moving forward, unless more is done to fight against workplace age discrimination to promote the success of women through their 60’s and later in life, these older women will struggle to gain employment and discrimination will prevail.
Read more about this article at The Los Angeles Times
Age and gender workplace discrimination are illegal in California. If you feel you have been a victim of age or gender employment discrimination or hiring discrimination in your workplace, contact the attorneys at Carlin and Buchsbaum today.
Carlin and Buchsbaum are workplace discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles, California. Our discrimination lawyers specialize in employment law and all forms of discrimination in the workplace.