MLK, the EEOC & Age Discrimination

MLKIt’s hard not to be cynical when the EEOC leadership trumpets its commitment to the ideals of Martin Luther King but ignores the reality of age discrimination in employment and, worse, engages in it.

EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic tweeted on MLK Day yesterday:

“Every day at the EEOC, we are reminded of Dr. King’s work, his vision, his prophecy. Our work is a deep part of his legacy. His call to service is what each member of the EEOC brings to our work every day.”

That’s a worthy sentiment but the EEOC has yet to walk the talk when it comes to age inequality.

Not only has the EEOC virtually ignored the problem for years but it sanctions age discrimination in hiring by the federal government and actually  engages in the practice itself, thereby undermining enforcement of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 in the private sector.

Dr. King understandably focused on the crisis of racial inequality in the United States but his appeal was based on the underlying concept of equal justice for all.  One can only wonder whether Dr. King, who was assasinated at age 39, would have recognized that age discrimination is a major hindrance to older minority group workers if he had lived.

In addition to the EEOC, the U.S. Congress ignores the problem of age discrimination and the U.S. Supreme Court accords age discrimination its lowest standard of review – mere rationality – a far lower standard than the Court accords to discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin or religion. A law that discriminates on the basis of age need only be rational to survive the U.S. Supreme Court’s review.

Moreover, it is supremely ironic that our nation’s first African-American president, Barack Obama, signed an executive order in 2010 allowing federal agencies to refuse to hire older workers. The Pathways “Recent Graduates” Program so far has cost older workers almost 100,000 jobs and counting.

Here are some quotes from Dr. King:

  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
  • “There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November.”

And here a couple of bonus quotes for the EEOC:

  • “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
  • “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

If older workers can do the job, they have a fundamental right not to be arbitrarily fired or driven out, dispatched in thinly disguised layoffs or omitted from consideration in the hiring process.  Who would deny that older workers have a right to equal justice under the law?

And, b.t.w.,  Research shows that women are, by far, the worst victims of age discrimination in hiring.

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Tell the EEOC to Enforce the Age Discrimination in Employment Act!

The EEOC has to adopt a new strategic plan and is seeking comment (until 5 p.m .ET on January 8, 2018) about what it should do.

To weigh in, go here or to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EEOC-2017-0005-0001.

It’s your opportunity to demand that the EEOC properly enforce the Age Discrimination in  Employment Act of 1967. The Strategic Plan is a framework for the allocation of  EEOC resources. You can be sure that employers and their advocates will weigh in.

In recent years, the EEOC has become a lap dog to corporate interests.

A main focus of the EEOC today is providing free mediation to resolve discrimination complaints. Mediation outcomes almost always favor the company –  not clueless, unrepresented discrimination victims – while saving employers potentially millions of dollars. For good measure, the EEOC assures discriminatory employers anonymity so that workers back at the farm will remain ignorant.

lapdog Continue reading “Tell the EEOC to Enforce the Age Discrimination in Employment Act!”

Communications Union Attacks Facebook Ads that Discriminate based on Age

FacebookA major lawsuit has been filed against a class of “hundreds” of American employers that allegedly “routinely” exclude older workers from receiving employment and recruitment ads on Facebook.

The lawsuit, filed by the Communications Workers of America in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, specifically names three plaintiffs, T-Mobile USA, Inc., Amazon com, Inc. and Cox Media Group, LLC.

The union seeks seek an injunction “to stop America’s leading companies from engaging in unlawful age discrimination in employment.”

According to the lawsuit, Facebook requires employers or employment agencies seeking to post job advertisements to select the age range of Facebook users who will be eligible to receive the ad. The lawsuit alleges that employers routinely target users who are under the age of forty.

This is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed to halt the use of Internet screening tools that target younger workers and screen out older workers.

Continue reading “Communications Union Attacks Facebook Ads that Discriminate based on Age”

Media Ignores ADEA’s 50th Anniversary. Surprised?

paperboyHere are the results of a Google search of media outlets for news articles on the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the federal law  that  prohibits consideration of age as a factor in hiring and employment. The search was conducted on mid-day Friday, the very day that Congress passed the ADEA 50 years ago.

December15, 2017

When the full name of the ADEA was spelled out, there was one result – a link to a 21-hour old video message by EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic.

In short, the 50th anniversary of the ADEA went uncelebrated and ignored by the major media in the United States, which should not come as a complete surprise. Continue reading “Media Ignores ADEA’s 50th Anniversary. Surprised?”

The EEOC’s Predicament with Respect to the ADEA’s 50th Anniversary

EEOC50ADEAPity the poor EEOC.

The EEOC is in the painful position of having to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which the EEOC has failed to aggressively enforce and arguably violates itself. The U.S. Congress passed the ADEA on December 15, 1967.

This important anniversary of the ADEA also shines a spotlight on how the EEOC has  failed millions of older Americans who became victims of age discrimination in employment during and since the Great Recession.

Yet, the EEOC must go through the motions. That is the least that is expected of the agency that is responsible for enforcing the ADEA.

So the EEOC has adopted a handsome marketing logo, Ability Matters – Not Age, and the agency is purporting on Twitter to “count down” to the big day on Friday .

The modern history of the ADEA shows that a law does not yield justice if it is not enforced.

Continue reading “The EEOC’s Predicament with Respect to the ADEA’s 50th Anniversary”

Another Example of Age Discrimination in the Digital Age

EditorialTeam.The Information
Staff at The Information

Is it any wonder that older people are almost invisible in society today, except for their reliance upon adult diapers, anti-depressants and “Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!”  buttons?

The Information, a New York-based technology web site and magazine start-up,  has rolled out a new subscription plan for people aged 30 and under.

The “Young Professional Plan” offers a discounted rate to the magazine, and a low-cost “all-access plan” and the opportunity to join “a Facebook group only for people 30 and under.”

CEO Jessica E. Lessin, who founded the magazine in 2013, said the plan is “designed to serve people who are early in their careers and haven’t reached their earning potential and are looking for events where they can meet people from outside their own companies.” Lessin is described as a former Wall Street Journal writer “with family money.”

How would Ms. Lessin feel about a networking opportunity for only male professionals?

Continue reading “Another Example of Age Discrimination in the Digital Age”

The New Yorker Wimps Out on Age Discrimination

An article on ageism in the November 20 issue of The New Yorker is oddly detached and completely misses the point.

For one thing, The New Yorker fails in the article, Why Ageism Never Gets Old,  to comprehend perhaps the major reason that age discrimination does not get old.  Age discrimination has its roots in the human psyche but is systematically carried out by individuals, public agencies and private sector employers who have little reason to fear legal consequences.

Age discrimination is rooted in the human psyche but is systematically carried out by employers with little reason to fear legal consequences.

Continue reading “The New Yorker Wimps Out on Age Discrimination”