Are Age and Discrimination An Issue For Retirees?

My Personal Introduction

I retired from a 23-year law enforcement career when I was 46 years old. I knew when I retired I wanted to pursue a second career in information technology.

Since I had obtained an online degree concentrating in technology I thought my chances were good for finding a job once retired.

Over the next 7 years I did find a couple of jobs working in technology support roles just to have two jobs taken away with layoffs resulting from company’s being bout out or simply moving from the region where I live.

I currently work for a web design company but would like to move back into a technology or customer service role with a larger company.

I have applied for many jobs in technology and other fields, however, now at age 58 I hardly ever receive a letter or email thanking me for applying and announcing that I did not get the position I applied for.

I am qualified for every job I apply for and know the basis for the rejection is my age, however, it is nearly impossible to prove age discrimination.

In this post, I intend to answer the question, are age and discrimination an issue for retirees?

What is age discrimination?

To start my research on any post I always turn to Wikipedia. When I searched the Wikipedia site for “age discrimination” the result was the word “ageism”, also spelled “agism. According to Wikipedia ageism is “stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age.”

In 1967 President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA). This labor law was designed to stop employers from discriminating against anyone 40 years of age and older. Originally, this law covered ages 40 – 65. Amendments to the law since 1965 have lifted the upper age limit of 65 thus doing away with a mandatory retirement age.

ADEA applies to all companies with 20 or more employees and encompasses private, state and federal organizations.

What are some signs of age discrimination?

age survey
“Age Question on Survey” by aafromaa is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Unfortunately, many people retire and then realize their retirement savings are not enough to live comfortably. They then attempt to entire back into the workforce and begin a job search.

Or, people who have reached retirement age would like to retire but don’t have enough savings and continue to work even into their late 60s and early 70s.

If you fit into one of these two situations you may have experienced discrimination because of your age.

According to an article published in The Washington Post on February 28, 2019, there have been 205,355 closed cases of age discrimination since 2010. 16% received relief and 1% actually had a finding of discrimination. These statistics were gathered through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC).

Signs of age discrimination within the workforce:

  • Being forced or asked to retire – Companies will offer attractive retirement packages in an effort to entice older employees to retire. Then, if the employee does not accept the offer they are fired anyway.
  • Age related harassment – Making statements about an employees age such as name-calling in an effort to get them to quit or retire. This is done by employers because age related firing is illegal.
  • Your company hires only younger people – You’ve noticed over a period of time that your company has only hired much younger people.
  • Younger workers receiving promotions – You’ve noticed over a period of time that only younger employees are receiving promotions even when you or older employees are more qualified.
  • Reduced workload – Over time you have been assigned work that is less challenging and younger worker receive all of the more challenging projects.
  • Unfair disciplinary action – Older employees receive more strict discipline for similar work related offenses than younger employees.
6 Warning Signs Of Age Discrimination – What You Should Do

Signs of age discrimination within a job application process:

  • Employer only recruits through certain social media outlets – Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram are social media platforms geared more to younger people. If an employer uses these three outlets to recruit workers rather than Facebook or LinkedIn they may be overlooking older applicants.
  • Recruiting efforts that overlook older applicants – Some employers may only recruit for new employees through colleges.
  • Job requirements not being met – If a job posting describes certain experience requirements that you meet, however, the chosen applicant has no experience.
  • You are “over-qualified” – You were told either in a job pre-screening process or an interview that you are over-qualified or have too much experience it is the employers way of thinking but not saying that you are too old.
  • You see age related ad words – In the job description you see words such as high-energy, a ninja, GPA of 3.5, or digitally savvy, the employer may be searching for younger applicants.

What can you do about age and discrimination?

Age discrimination, even though illegal, is very hard to prove. If you are lucky enough to get an interview for a job you have applied for, here is an excellent article I found that may help when speaking one on one with the hiring manager.

If you feel you have been a victim of age discrimination you can file a complaint with the EEOC here.

You can also combat age discrimination by taking matters into your hands. I have written several posts geared towards retirees that present alternatives to working in an officer environment, instead, work from the comfort of your own home.

“Work From Home Jobs That Are Not Scams – Information For Retirees to Consider” describes examples of work from home jobs that are not scams and lists several good websites to search for virtual employment.

Also, see this article, describing work from home chat jobs and how they make for an excellent alternative to the everyday drive to and from an office.

What am I doing about age and discrimination?

While becoming more and more frustrated with job searching and getting older and older I decided to see if there was something I could do about starting a business of my own. Naturally, being interested in technology and the internet I turned to searching for online options to make money.

I initially looked at opening an online dropshipping business. I started by searching for websites that were currently for sale and were making a profit. Not having any online sales experience other than eBay and seeing the costs associated with these opportunities I turned my focus to affiliate marketing.

Fortunately for me, and unlike many others, I had not spent any money on scam sites and sites that offered some value but were full of upsells. Then, in June 2018 I found Wealthy Affiliate through a member’s post. The member, “Littlemama”, has been a great coach and source of great encouragement and information since I joined.

You can read my review of Wealthy Affiliate here.

Final thoughts

Are age and discrimination an issue for retirees? My answer is, a definite yes. Age discrimination complaints to the EEOC continue to grow each year. One thing I’ve noticed when looking at job listings, not all companies include “age” when they make the statement we hire regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc..

Age discrimination is extremely difficult to prove. That being said, there are things to look for when working in a job where you suspect age discrimination and things to look for when you are applying for a job after retirement.

People can also file complaints with the EEOC when age discrimination is suspected.

I hope you have enjoyed my post and please feel free to leave your comments below and share on your social media platforms. I will respond to all comments as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Calvin Harris

18 thoughts on “Are Age and Discrimination An Issue For Retirees?”

  1. Age discrimination or ageism is definitely an issue.  I, too, have ample experience in my field and even within that field, I have accomplished many things.  I thought it would be an advantage when it came to finding new employment.  I was completely wrong.  I have had to take jobs that pay far less and are even below my skill set in order to pay the bills.  I realize that companies want to get in “fresh blood’ but they also need to realize that us experience workers still have a lot to bring to the table.

    • Hi, it really is frustrating for those of us who are qualified for certain jobs but get turned away based on age.  I think we know it’s age discrimination but also know that it’s hard to prove.  

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  2. This is an issue that can be talked about for a long time. The fact is that both parties would argue the reason why they feel they are right. There are reasons why younger people are employed as the employee feel this age group are more active and creative. 

    Yet some people would argue that employing an aged person is better due to their years of experience. I see the reason in both argument and I feel a solution to this would be a mix of employees. There are some positions that are more suited for the young folks while there are some better for the aged people. 

    I am not entirely sure if there is another way to solve this problem.

    • Hi Jay, I think you’re right.  The younger generation is more active and creative but they lack the experience necessary to carry out some assignments all the way through.  It’s like the old saying, “how do you get a job without experience but how do you get experience without a job”.  

      It will forever be an issue.  I think the older generation needs to think outside the box and take action on their own, like starting an online business.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  3. This is a great site as so many folks who have retired are finding a tough go of it, as well as many who feel they are unable to retire in order to maintain one’s lifestyle. You are providing much important info to help people along.

    My site is about being unretired out of choice because you enjoy what you do but I do address similar issues. Also there are people who have it together financially but are bored to death (which is something that happens to folks without a purpose) and looking for something in which to engage.

    Age discrimination definitely exists especially in some industries more than others. Having worked in the mental health field for many years I do not find it as prevalent there, but years ago I did consulting in the computer and microelectronics industries and those industries tend to lean toward a younger crowd.

    Companies who do discriminate do have a way which they cover their tracks very well. You have provided some important info and insights for others who are being discriminated. Thanks and all the best to you.

    • Hi Joseph, I think you make some really good points here. I’m sure there are some fields where age discrimination is more prevalent than others. It has been frustrating for me as I don’t even get so much as thanks for applying or anything. At this point it’s more than just a pattern, it’s obvious. With my site, I want to help retired people find alternatives to traditional employment. When you own your own business you are accountable for all of your actions.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Wealthy Affiliate is awesome,age barrier is not consider in online business endeavors,you be your own boss and leverage on the opportunity of the platform,no doubt about this,you have written a great article.I agreed with you on this statements,( that you are over-qualified or have too much experience by the interviewers). I believe with this article of yours success is certain in your online journey.Thank you

    • Hi Abayomi, it is important to me that my site will help other retired people.  Hopefully, no one has to go through age discrimination, however, I think it happens more than most people know.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  5. I think the perfect alternative to do those facing age discrimination is to start their own online business, however, some may have no desire to do so. The best way to overcome this discrimination might be to find companies that hire older individuals. I once worked a warehouse job and was surprised to see the number of older men working there, many of whom who had started as recently as 2017, so the place wasn’t their first stop. You can definitely file a complaint, but then again, there’s no guarantee that doing so will work, plus the fact on how tough it is to prove age discrimination might motivate others to simply continue to look for work. As noted, there are companies out there that will hire; finding them might be the toughest part. 

    • Hi Todd, I absolutely agree with you.  And, I think age discrimination is more prevalent in some fields compared to others.  I think proving any kind of discrimination is difficult but proving age discrimination is difficult because company’s know it’s illegal and do everything they can to cover their tracks as they go along. 

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  6. This is an excellent post that raises an awful lot of questions, must confess that I am not one who has been discriminated against by such practices, when I reached 65 I had to ask to be allowed to retire, which was granted, only to be asked weeks later if I would please go back, even saying that I could pick my own hours, I did refuse, had been looking forward to that day for a long time.

    But I do empathise totally with those who find it so difficult to find employment as they get older, it is not right, but employers do not seem to want the experience that the more mature can bring to them, think they are afraid that they would have to pay them more.

    An excellent post which as you will gather I could talk about for hours.


    • Hi Stuart, while researching this post I learned things I didn’t know existed.  I’m glad I picked this topic because I think it’s important to educate retirees or people who are considering retirement about age discrimination.  

      I never experienced this when I was working but trying to find another job now is like looking for a needle in a land-fill.  I just don’t think it’s a coincidence that for the most part I never even get thanks for applying from a potential employer.  

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  7. I am happy that someone has actually taken out time to write on a serious issue like this one. Agism is real and I see how it affects people that are old. Currently, my boss doesn’t take employees above 40. He never says it but it’s something I’ve noticed. He tells them that they have too much experience and he’s looking to help people build. This is really disheartening and it can lead many old folks to depression. I hope we are able to combat such 

    • I really appreciate you sharing a real-life example of age discrimination.  I’m sure your boss knows it’s illegal but he’s using an excuse not to hire older more qualified people.  While doing my research the example you gave was one of the things I read a lot about. 

      I really appreciate you reading and commenting!


  8. No questions on the overall topic however this is a very good, sad but true article. Its sad to see this happen and that some people don’t have enough to retire or enough to live comfortably with how expensive everything is and its only getting worse. I can’t offer experience with this topic as my grandmother is very wealthy and grandfather passed away in 2003 as she of course became wealthy after his death collecting life insurance. However my opinion about the topic is age doesn’t define who you are but in this day in age yes I agree age and discrimination is an unfortunate problem for retirees. Its an extremely difficult process for someone to go through as you just want to retire and relax and everyone deserves happiness and to do. As well as I had always wanted to be in law enforcement however its not for everyone so good for you ! 

    • Hi Trevor, thanks for sharing your thoughts on age discrimination.  I think it’s something that happens a lot more than people know, and it’s really difficult to prove.  My hope is that retired people will read the post and gain some knowledge about age discrimination.  

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  9. This is really cool. My dad retired after serving in the U.S. Army for 20 years and it’s kind of been a struggle for him. He just be so bored all the time because he always had an objective to complete when he was in the army. He just miss having that purpose in his life. So he decided to look for a decent job thinking he would got hired right away since he was a Army Vet, but it isn’t as easy as he thought it would be. He is more than qualified for the jobs he applied and interviewed for, he is just much more older than their usual applicants. And in my opinion, I think that they use that against him like they don’t want to have any liabilities on their hands. So I agree with you 100%. Age and discrimination is definitely an issue for retirees. Great article, definitely going to share this on my Facebook to raise awareness and send it to my Dad.   

    • Hi Garrett, I appreciate you sharing your dad’s real-life example of age discrimination.  It’s sad that vets, especially older vets can’t find employment.  And, most companies even ask if you are a military veteran.  In my opinion, your dad should go to the front of the line for any job he applies for and at least get the interview.

      Please do share the post on Facebook and with your dad.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


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