More complaints alleging age discrimination were filed by federal employees each year from 2010 to 2014 than complaints alleging race or disability discrimination.
The Annual Report on the Federal Work Force states that age was a basis for 4,697 complaints filed by federal employees in 2014, compared to 3,838 complaints of race discrimination and 3,817 complaints of (physical) disability. Age discrimination was, by far, the leading basis for complaints filed by federal employees each year during the four-year period, with a high of 5,314 age discrimination complaints filed in 2010.
Yet, the federal government, which is the nation’s largest employer, has done virtually nothing – if anything – to address the problem of age discrimination in federal employment. In fact, President Barack Obama made the problem considerably worse in 2010 when he signed an executive order to permit federal agencies to discriminate in hiring on the basis of age in hiring. The order exempts the federal government from the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which expressly prohibits using age as a consideration in hiring.
President Obama couched his order permitting age discrimination in federal hiring as a diversity measure.
The president argued in his executive order that the federal government is at a disadvantage in hiring students and recent graduates because of civil service regulations (that were passed in 1871 to prevent cronyism and to ensure fairness in hiring). He added that “students and recent graduates … infuse the workplace with their enthusiasm, talents, and unique perspectives.” (Does this mean that older workers don’t?)
Underlying President Obama’s executive order is the assumption that America must choose between the worthy goal of nurturing young workers and the ideal of equal opportunity for all. But is this choice really necessary? The United States has the world’s largest national economy, with a gross domestic product estimated to be $17.914 trillion in 2015. The pie is big enough to make sound policy decisions that boost employment for younger workers without consigning older workers to irrational discrimination, chronic unemployment and poverty. [Read more…]