I'm Paul Thornton, The Times' letters editor, and it is Saturday, April 30, 2016. Two hundred and twenty seven years ago today, George Washington became the first president of the United States. We've come a long way, right? Speaking of presidents, regular readers of this newsletter probably expect to find in this space an introduction to an opinion piece on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or some other character from the protracted presidential primary. But this week, I've decided to spare faithful subscribers a lengthy excerpt on the even lengthier campaign in favor of commentary on a topic sure to perk up your Saturday morning: the daunting prospects faced by older women looking for a job.
Companies speak with job seekers at a job fair in Pittsburgh. Companies speak with job seekers at a job fair in Pittsburgh. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act turns 50 this year -- about the age when many American workers begin to encounter the kinds of biases the law was intended to prevent. At this "milestone of middle age," quipped Victoria Lipnic, acting chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the law is grappling with new forms of age discrimination in the Internet era. Research by EEOC, which received 20,857 claims of age discrimination last year, found that 65% of older workers say age is a barrier to getting a job.
Older adults have been excluded from some websites that post jobs, according to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Older adults have been excluded from some websites that post jobs, according to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. If you're looking for work, you might start with one of those websites that posts jobs. But if you're an older adult looking for work, you might have found yourself excluded from some of the features on those sites. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan opened an investigation after a 70-year-old man called her office and complained that he'd been unable to use a resume building tool on JOBR, an app owned by Monster Worldwide.
Terri had been laid off recently when her company decided to downsize, and she was having trouble finding a new job. "It's all about adaptability, ability to learn new things and thrive with change, and being able to work in this dynamic, constantly changing environment with lots of opportunity for growth," she said. Terms like "adaptability" tend to be code for "fresh out of school," which Terri understood. She started dying her hair so that her LinkedIn profile photo would look younger. Terri was one of many workers Ilana interviewed from 2013 to 2014 in the Bay Area.
ProPublica and Mother Jones today co-published an exhaustive report that alleges IBM has for years disregarded age discrimination laws in an attempt to push out employees over 40 and replace them with younger workers. The company is believed to have laid off around 20,000 US employees over 40 years of age over the past five years, though the actual number is believed to be "almost certainly higher." Those employees -- some of them let go after careers with IBM that spanned decades -- saw their jobs either given to "less-experienced and lower-paid workers" or sent overseas. The damning investigative report is culled from a questionnaire filled out by over 1,100 former IBM employees who shared their experiences, interviews, official company documents, and more. The cuts coincided with IBM's transition to a business centered around cloud services and data analytics.