Age Discrimination Due to COVID-19

Age discrimination is not anything new. Its origin can date back to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).[1] An important question is whether age discrimination in employment has increased due to COVID-19. Studies indicate that “age is a strong risk factor for severe illness, complications, and death”, in COVID-19.[2] This suggests that older workers are most likely to call out sick due to contracting the virus. The ramifications of this can go as far as some employers choosing not to hire older workers during this unprecedented period, in favor of younger workers with more robust immune systems. Perhaps this may continue until a vaccine is released. Older workers or the elderly, many with pre-existing conditions, may be passed off for a job or wrongfully discharged. These same workers may be given less comprehensive medical benefit packages and insurance, due to rising costs. Perhaps they may be looked over for an assignment that requires convening in crowded spaces or taking public transportation.[3] Certain employer-related actions can also be scrutinized under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

In difficult times like these, employers and businesses will do what they can to ensure their bottom line, because survivability is key. This does not mean that employment and application procedures were legal. If you or someone you know think you may have been discriminated against due to age or disability, you may be able to pursue legal remedy.


[1] “Age Discrimination.” U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor, www.dol.gov/general/topic/discrimination/agedisc.

[2] “Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 May 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html.

[3] “Age Discrimination.” U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, www.eeoc.gov/age-discrimination.

 

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