Attorney General pressures job sites for age discrimination

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ILLINOIS — Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office has a warning for online job recruiting companies. Madigan’s office sent a letter to six national job sites asking companies to provide insight into their web application forms to discern if employers or the websites themselves may be screening or filtering applicants by age. 

Many senior citizens already face a daunting task when applying for a job online. But Madigan’s office cites consumer complaints stating several job boards won’t allow users to include job history prior to 1980, effectively reducing critical experience from job seekers ages 52 and older.

Many applicants are concerned their applications are winding up in a ‘digital trash can’ and never even reaching the employer’s desk. Madigan’s inquiry seeks to clarify the details surrounding that process. 

The letters went to recruiting sites Beyond.com, CareerBuilder, Indeed Inc., Ladders Inc., Monster Worldwide Inc. and Vault. CareerBuilder is the only one of the companies based in Illinois, but each of them provide services in the Land of Lincoln. Madigan’s letter requires the companies to update her office on their application process before March 29. 

“As our population ages, people are working longer, well into their seventies and eighties,” says Annie Thompson, Press Secretary to the Attorney General.

“We just want to make sure that those individuals are able to access the websites, fill out all the options that they would like to fill out and have an equal chance of employment.”

AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, continues to advocate for those 50 and older. AARP’s Illinois branch is not only pushing for reform in Washington, D.C., but also insists lawmakers needs to do more to fight against age discrimination in the workplace.

Associate State Director Lori Hendren says, “We support the AG’s initiative and what she’s doing. But this is a barrier keeping these wonderful individuals from contributing to the employment sector.” 

A 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling raised the threshold of evidence required to initiate discrimination lawsuits.

Last month, Senators Robert Casey (D-PA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced a bill to clarify existing discrimination legislation.

Former Illinois Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) sponsored the bill. His colleagues have picked up where he left off and plan to advance the ‘Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act.’ 

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