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Job searching is a daunting task for anyone, especially in this economy. But for older workers, age discrimination can add to the difficulty of finding work.

Jim Pawlak worked as a customer service representative at Xerox for 20 years. When the company announced job lay-offs, Pawlak was one of the first to go. The 48-year-old Chicago resident found himself in the job-hunting circuit for over 134 weeks. During that time, he sent out 908 resumes but was invited to fewer than 50 job interviews. Like many workers over age 40, Pawlak picked up freelance or contract work, but he was not hired for full-time work. His case is typical of the current trend.

While unemployment figures show signs of improvement for most groups of employees, the statistics are not so promising for older job seekers. Figures released by the Labor Department show that the unemployment rate for older workers (those age 55+) did not increase.

Moreover, a recent study by the Government Accountability Office found that older workers spend more time looking for jobs than younger workers. According to the study, older workers spent an average of 56 weeks job hunting compared to 37 weeks for younger workers. An analysis by AARP Public Policy Institute found that 54% of workers who are unemployed long term – those who are without a job for more than 27 weeks — are over the age of 55.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) specifically outlaws discrimination against employees 40 years and older. While the ADEA’s protection extends to both employees and job applicants, age discrimination is often more difficult to prove than other types of discrimination. If you are a victim of age discrimination, call the experienced attorneys at The Reddy Law Firm, PC. We can help protect your rights.

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