McNamee Hosea News & Press


Older Job Applicants Report Obstacles, Despite Legal Protections

Although federal and state employment laws offer some protections to older workers on the job market, many job candidates over the age of 50 may be encountering difficulty. Admittedly, the job market has been tough in recent years. Nevertheless, a recent research poll confirms that many job seekers in the over-50 job bracket attribute their age as a barrier to finding employment.

Maryland law prohibits age discrimination in both public and private employment. The law, which applies to employers of 15 or more workers, prohibits material employment actions motivated by age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, a federal law, also protects age-related employment actions for workers who are age 40 or older.

Under both federal and state law, an employer is prohibited from basing decision about hiring, promotions, reductions-in-force, discharge or forced early retirement based on a worker’s actual or perceived age. For a worker who feels that he or she is a victim of age-related discrimination, a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will start a confidential investigation. Throughout that process, the employee will be protected against employer retaliation for filing the charge.

An age discrimination complaints can be a lengthy process and bring bad press to a company, in addition to litigation costs. From a competitive standpoint, age discrimination complaints can seriously harm a company, even if the ultimate outcome does not result in liability or a settlement. Not surprisingly, human resource departments often prefer a more preventive approach. Procedures for promotions, promotions and pay raises, and even terminations can be clearly defined in employee handbooks and employment agreements. 

Source:, “For jobless over 50, a challenging search for work,” Matt Sedensky