Older Workers Barred from Applying for Tens of Thousands of Federal Jobs

Tens of thousands of U.S. jobs were reserved for  younger workers from 2012 to 2014 under the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Pathways Program, which permits federal agencies to limit hiring to recent college graduates.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the OPM disclosed on June 13 that a total of 29,595 candidates were selected for employment under the Pathways Program from May 2012  to  Fiscal Year 2014.   Of the total, 27,423 were under the age of 40 and 2,172 were over the age of 40. The OPM claims its data only covers that period but clearly the loss of opportunity to work for the federal government continues for older workers.  It is fair to assume that older workers have been barred from applying for at least 60,000 federal jobs.

Of the total, 92.7 % of the Pathways Program hires were UNDER the age of 40 and only 7.3 % were OVER the age of 40.

The Pathways Program permits federal agencies to limit hiring to applicants who apply within two years of earning a post-high school or college degree. Specifically, the program is “open to applicants who have completed a qualifying post-high school educational program (e.g., technical or vocational school; two-or-four year college or university; graduate or professional school) within the preceding two years.”  Veterans have six years to apply.

The OPM disingenuously took the position that any individual who meets the qualification can apply regardless of age. However, as the OPM’s letter shows, the vast majority of recent college graduates are under the age of 40. The program represents a form of age discrimination in violation of the  Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 that is called disparate impact discrimination. The hiring policy is a seemingly neutral policy that has a profound disproportionate and adverse affect on older workers.

Former President Barack H. Obama  sought to create an exception to the ADEA when he created the Pathways Program by signing Executive Order 13562 into law on December 27, 2010. Without citing any research or other supporting documentation, Obama claimed the federal government was at a disadvantage in hiring young people due to the competitive hiring process. The Pathways Program took effect on January 6, 2012, sixty days after the OPM issued regulations to implement the program.

Unfortunately, neither the EEOC nor the AARP, which claims to represent older Americans, acknowledged the  discriminatory impact of the Executive Order  at the time or took any subsequent steps to oppose it.

As a result of the Pathways Program, older workers, who were still suffering from the ravages of the Great Recession, were barred from participating in the recovery.  The federal government is the nation’s largest employer.

Three years ago,  when I first wrote about the Pathways Program, I observed with some incredulity that my blog might be the only source in the nation that has acknowledge the devastating impact of the Pathways Program on older workers.  I noted the Pathways Program not only discriminates against older workers but it sends a message to the private sector that age discrimination in hiring is acceptable and it likely discouraged enforcement of the ADEA by the EEOC.

The FOI request was filed by a job seeker who has filed an age discrimination complaint with the EEOC alleging age discrimination in hiring by the federal government.

Study Finds Job Call-Back Rates Begin Steep Decline in 40’s

The callback rate for job applicants begins to fall significantly around the age of 40-45 and is close to zero by the age of 70.

This was the “striking” finding of a recent Swedish study in which more than 6,000 fictitious resumes  were sent to 2,000 employers with job vacancies from 2015 – 2016. The study, The Effect of Age and Gender on Labor Demand – Evidence from a Field Experiment,  was conducted by  the Swedish Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy. The authors are Magnus Carlsson of the Center for Labor Market and Discrimination Studies at Linnaeus University and  economist Stefan Eriksson of Uppsala University.

On average, the study found that each  year of aging reduces the call back rate of a job applicant between the ages of 35 and 70 by about one half a percentage point.

The authors note that it is unreasonable to conclude that workers in their early 40s lack important occupational skills, have low physical strength or bad health. Therefore, they say, the “main story of age discrimination in the labor market is not about being old, say above age 55, but rather about not being young, say below age 40-45.”

The authors suggest that employers fear workers in their early 40s have started to lose the ability to learn new tasks, flexibility and adaptability, and ambition.

The authors write that the call back rate for women drops at a much steeper rate than that of  men after the age of 35.

Th study concludes that age discrimination is a “widespread phenomenon, affecting workers much younger than the age where employers consider them as old (which occurs at age 54 according to our employer survey).

The study encompassed seven occupations that had a job advertisement on the website of the Swedish Public Employment Service. These include administrative assistants, chefs, cleaners, food serving and waitresses, retail sales persons and cashiers, sales representative sand truck drivers.

Cosby Trial & the Madonna Whore Complex

*  The jury was  declared deadlocked in Bill Cosby’s trial on 6/17/17. It is time for the court system to seriously examine why our criminal justice system cannot hold a rich and powerful man responsible for sexually assaulting scores of women  whom he has drugged into a state of paralyzes. PGB

According to the news report, all eyes were on Bill Cosby’s wife,  Camille Cosby, as she entered the courtroom and found her seat while the judge was speaking.

“By allowing Cosby’s wife to enter the courtroom in the middle of proceedings while the judge was speaking, officials extended her an extraordinary and unprecedented courtesy that had not been afforded to others in the crowded courtroom. Members of the audience, including some of Cosby’s other accusers who are not testifying, have not even been allowed to leave the courtroom in the midst of proceedings for bathroom breaks without being blocked from re-entering.”

Meanwhile, Cosby attorney Brian McMonagle branded as a “stone cold” liar Cosby’s accuser, Andrea Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball staffer who says Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2004. And he argued the approximately 60 other  Cosby accusers were merely seeking to appear on television and the Dr. Phil show, including Victoria Valentino and Linda Kirkpatrick, who sat in the last of eight jammed rows of padded wooden benches.

According to Reuters, “Camille Cosby has been deposed in a civil suit filed by an accuser and had been active behind the scenes in developing strategy in the criminal case, according to sources familiar with defense preparations. But she has made no public appearances related to the criminal proceedings. That is, until Monday.”

Camille Cosby, a “philanthropist” and art collector, is accorded great deference in the court system, though it appears she looked the other way for decades, while her husband allegedly drugged and raped scores of women.  Whereas the victims, many of whom told startlingly similar tales of being drugged and assaulted by a wealthy, powerful man, are demeaned  as liars and manipulator.

To borrow McMonagle’s words, “This ain’t right.”

EEOC & AARP: The Willfully Blind leading the Willfully Blind?

You can’t make this stuff up.

The EEOC has announced that age discrimination will be a “special focus” of its major annual “training event” for employers  later this month to mark the 50th anniversary of enactment of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

The invited guest speaker is Jo Ann Jenkins, the CEO of the AARP, an organization that has done virtually nothing in 50 years to address the fundamental legal inequality of older workers in the United States and for years has accorded mere lip service  to the epidemic of age discrimination in employment that began during the Great Recession.

Of course, the EEOC under Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration also did virtually nothing about the problem of age discrimination in employment. The EEOC last year filed exactly two lawsuits with age discrimination claims, despite receiving more than 20,000 complaints of age discrimination. The EEOC today arguably does more to protect employers from the consequences of illegal age discrimination than it does to protect older workers from illegal age discrimination. It remains to be seen whether GOP President Donald Trump and EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A.  Lipnic will choose do any better.

The EEOC press release states the CEO of the AARP and the EEOC Acting Chair  will engage in a “candid conversation about age discrimination.”   Maybe they could start by explaining why both organizations have completely ignored the problem for decades.

I respectfully suggest  Jenkins and Lipnic obtain a copy of my groundbreaking book, Betrayed: The Legalization of Age Discrimination in the Workplace, which candidly describes the epic failure of the federal government protect older workers from irrational and devastating age discrimination in employment. Up to now, both the EEOC and the AARP have  completely ignored the book, which received an excellent review from The ABA Commission on Law and Aging.

Compared to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADEA was weak when it was adopted in 1967 and it  was subsequently eviscerated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Congress has fiddled. Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin and color. Unlike Title VII, the ADEA permits “reasonable” age discrimination and provides  minimal damages. One federal circuit court has even ruled that job applicants have no protection from blatant age discrimination in hiring  under the ADEA.

According to the EEOC: “Jenkins has been described as a visionary ‘thought leader’ and a catalyst for breakthrough results at the nation’s largest social welfare organization with nearly 38 million members.”  Well, I suppose you  gotta give her credit for boosting AARP revenues. The AARP is literally making billions from the sale of health insurance to seniors, not to mention internet service, cruises, eyeglasses, dining deals, investment plans, smartphones, etc.

The  EXCEL (Examining Conflicts in Employment Laws) conference will be held in Chicago on June 27-29. The EEOC states it will provide “the employer community”  with tools and strategies to address emerging issues in equal employment opportunity.

The conference, described as the agency’s primary annual event, is geared toward EEO managers, supervisors, practitioners, HR professionals, attorneys, ADR specialists and other interested parties in both the federal and private sectors.