In 1967, Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to protect U.S. workers age 40 and above from employment discrimination based on age. However, despite this act, age discrimination is alive and well in the U.S.
According to the AARP, of the 11.1 Million unemployed people as of December 2008, 1.4 Million alone were age 55 and over. Age discrimination complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have recently become one of the fastest-growing discrimination categories in U.S. history since the ADEA act was passed.
During the past five calendar years, EEOC data reports a 9.3% increase in age discrimination complaints, or over 92,000 complaints nationwide. Of these, only a fraction of these complaints had merit (15,430) but even with this small number of meritorious complaints damages totaled to $348 Million! Over the past five years ending 5/28/09, nearly 6,000 cases specifically alleging age discrimination have been filed, nationwide, with LegalMatch and are reflective of the general trend.
And, it’s not just the 40 to 50 year old workers who are making these allegations. In March 2009, the EEOC settled a lawsuit alleging age discrimination against the Meenan Oil Company in Tullytown, Pennsylvania who terminated a 71 year old sales representative because of his age. The company settled for $80,000. This is no different than customers of LegalMatch who inquired about age discrimination and who ranged in age from as young as 40 years old to as old as 85!
During the past 12-months, the following are the top ten states where LegalMatch customers sought attorneys to represent them with their age discrimination complaints. Together, all ten states accounted for over half of the age discrimination complaints filed with LegalMatch.
Given our own LegalMatch.com data and the records of the EEOC, we expect allegations of employer’s discriminating against older workers to continue to rise as the U.S. population ages. Apparently, it is only through private legal actions or through claims filed via the EEOC or both that older U.S. workers will gain protection in the workplace.
 U.S. EEOC Web Site
 U.S. EEOC ADEA Claims