The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has launched two new training programs for employers: Leading for Respect (for supervisors) and Respect in the Workplace (for all employees).
This is ironic because the EEOC so clearly has no respect for older workers who are victims of age discrimination.
For years, the EEOC has failed to vigorously implement the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Almost a quarter of all complaints received by the EEOC in 2016 involved age discrimination; yet the agency filed only two lawsuits that year with “age discrimination claims.”
Moreover, it was recently learned the EEOC ignored legal precedent and dismissed two age discrimination lawsuits filed by highly qualified older job applicants who were passed over for far less qualified workers under the age of 40 (some were recent graduates). In one case, a hiring officer for the Social Security Administration said he discounted qualifications altogether and hired four applicants under the age of 40 based on his perception of cultural fit. Even the business community knows that hiring based on cultural fit is an invitation to bias. Since EEOC actions are secret unless the EEOC files a lawsuit, one can only guess how many older workers have been denied their right to work by the very agency that is responsible for implementing the ADEA.
Can We Expect the EEOC to Train Employers to Respect and Value Older Workers When the EEOC Itself Does Not?
The other irony is that older women are the most severely affected by age discrimination in employment, which dumps many of them into an impoverished old age.
The EEOC’s press release indicates the “Respectful Workplaces Training Program” is available to both private and public employers. The program is a follow-up to an EEOC study of workplace harassment.
“The training program focuses on respect, acceptable workplace conduct, and the types of behaviors that contribute to a respectful and inclusive, and therefore ultimately more profitable, workplace,” states the press release.
Here’s a tip for the EEOC. It is not acceptable for the EEOC to conduct itself in a manner that is not respectful and inclusive of older workers, especially those who are victims of age discrimination and come to you for justice.