New York readers know that age discrimination is against the law. However, most older workers who experience job-related age discrimination choose not to file a complaint according to a new report issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The report, which cites upcoming research results from an AARP study, says that only 3 percent of older workers who suffer age discrimination formally report the incident to their employer or federal and state agencies. However, other research has found that up to 60 percent of workers age 45 or older have experienced at least one incident of on-the-job age discrimination. Meanwhile, the EEOC reports that age discrimination complaints have steadily increased over the years with a high of 24,000 being filed during the recession in 2008.

According to the report, it is difficult to ascertain the true prevalence of workplace age discrimination, but the EEOC believes that incidents of discrimination greatly exceed the number of complaints that are actually filed. Of the cases that have been reported, 55 percent involved accusations of discriminatory firings, making it the most common charge. Other common charges involved age-based harassment, discriminatory discipline and discriminatory terms of employment. The report also found that the demographics of workers who file age discrimination lawsuits have changed over the past 25 years. For example, men filed twice as many age-related complaints as women in 1990, but women now file more complaints than men. Meanwhile, the percentage of complaints filed by black workers increased from 14 percent in 1990 to 27 percent in 2017.

Individuals who experience workplace age discrimination may learn more about their legal options by speaking to an attorney familiar with employment discrimination cases. One possible option might be to file a formal complaint with the EEOC or a state agency.

Source: Market Watch, “Only 3% of workers who have experienced age discrimination filed a formal complaint,” June 28, 2018