As workers reach retirement age, the way they are treated by employers can change significantly. Forced early retirement or layoffs are more common than many believe, according to recent research. For Californians in their 50s and beyond, job prospects can be discouraging.
In a newly released survey of workers in their 50s, a majority of respondents experienced forced layoffs, business closings or early retirement. Of those seeking employment after a job termination, only 10 percent found work for comparable pay and benefits. Not surprisingly, the household income of those in retirement years was less than other age groups.
The study was conducted by a large public interest group focusing on aging issues. It was performed in cooperation with the Social Security Administration. The answers of more than 2,000 respondents were analyzed. Participants were limited to those with the same employer for more than five years and in their 50s or older.
Some professionals studying the issue of age discrimination believe the negative effects may go beyond financial affliction. Research is demonstrating that loss of employment due to involuntary retirement can have a detrimental impact on physical health. Mental health can also suffer. Because of our aging society, the issue is an important one. By 2050, it is estimated that nearly 22 percent of the U.S. population will be over age 65.
In California, discriminating against an employee due to their age is illegal. Though not always easy to prove, an attorney can help with an age discrimination suit. Damages for lost wages, benefits, damage to reputation and emotional distress may be possible areas of recovery.