John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
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Baby boomers working past retirement age may face discrimination

Around 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age daily across the country, so it makes sense that they account for a growing percentage of the workforce. Minnesotans aged 65 and older in the workforce increased about 63 percent from 2003, holding 4.4 percent of jobs that are covered by unemployment insurance in 2017. In the same period, the number of average hours they worked per week also went up, as did their average hourly wage.

According to the AARP Minnesota volunteer president, a stronger economy is creating new opportunities for older workers. Additionally, older workers are not wanting to be fully retired -- as they examine their lives and explore different kinds of work, they are trying to find work that fits into what life stage they are in.

Though the job department is going in favor of older workers, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner said he has seen an increase in employment discrimination claims based on age discrimination. Since older workers make up a large proportion of the workforce, downsizing affects them more. However, when workers are asked how old they are or other questions that are designed to determine an applicant's age, it is against the law. The Minnesota Human Rights Act prevents employers from asking questions that could lead to age discrimination. Even where employers do not ask outright, questions that ask about graduation dates could lead to the same result.

Violations of the law could serve as evidence in an age discrimination claim under federal law. Those who have been wrongly terminated or have not been hired for a job due to their age might want to consider consulting an experienced attorney about their legal options.

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