First fired, last hired
When companies seek to reduce costs, older workers are sometimes a convenient target. Companies may try to reduce costs by replacing older workers with younger workers whose salaries and benefits may not cost the company as much.
Age discrimination can show up in hiring practices as well as firing practices. When companies post positions as “junior” positions or specifically target younger people in online job advertisements, for example, they are often doing so in an attempt to attract younger workers who will be cheaper to hire.
Remote work may exacerbate the problem
While remote work has been a boon for many workers, a new Facebook policy regarding remote work could signal a troubling trend for older workers; particularly those who work in more expensive cities. Facebook’s policy allows employees to work remotely, but now their salaries will reflect the salary range of the areas where they work. This could mean a much larger hiring pool for Facebook and other companies, allowing them to hire from a much larger pool of younger (cheaper) workers who live in more remote (cheaper) areas.
Protections for workers over 40
Workers who are over the age of 40 are legally protected from discrimination in hiring, firing, promotion, compensation and work conditions. But proving that a company is discriminating on the basis of age may require experienced legal representation. It is helpful, for example, to be able to show that a company’s cost-cutting measures affected a group of older people disproportionately. This is especially true in the absence of blatant statements or actions from the employer that would demonstrate age-related bias.