Boise pollster's survey for AARP finds one-third of older Americans report age discrimination at work

Boise pollster Greg Strimple's new poll says 34 percent of older Americans in five states report that they or someone they know has experienced age discrimination in the workplace.

An analysis of the June jobs report by AARP Idaho found that it takes longer for unemployed older workers to find work than their younger counterparts. The average duration of unemployment for older workers was 55.6 weeks compared to 35.2 weeks for those under 50, according to an AARP Idaho news release Friday.

The poll is part of a national report issued Friday by AARP, which aims to boost support for the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. Eighty-one percent of respondents said is important for Congress to take action and restore workplace protections against age discrimination after a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court case made it harder to prove age discrimination. Seventy-eight percent said they support the Protecting Older
Workers Against Discrimination Act.

Idaho AARP Director David Irwin said in a news release, “If Idahoans 50 and older are anything like their counterparts across the nation, we know age discrimination is likely something going through their minds when they receive a rejection letter to their job application,”

The poll was conducted by Strimple's GS Strategy Group, which surveyed 1,000 registered voters age 50 and over in Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Tennessee. The survey was conducted May 14‐20 among a random sample and has a margin of error plus or minus 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Strimple is working for the National Republican Senatorial Committee polling in Senate races. Four of the states in the AARP survey -- Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Tennessee -- have key races in November. Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich faces re-election in 2014.

Strimple advised GOP Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential race and also has polled for New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie. He recently entered into a joint venture with Gallatin Public Affairs and shares office space with the firm that includes former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus.

Friday's AARP Idaho news release follows:

Are Idahoans Facing Age Discrimination in the Workforce?

Unemployed Over 20 Weeks Longer than Younger Workers, New AARP Report Finds Many of 50+ Feel Age Discrimination is a Reality

BOISE, Idaho – Many of the roughly 4.3% unemployed older workers in Idaho may feel they know exactly why they “just didn’t get the job:” age discrimination. On the heels of the June jobs reports, a new AARP report, conducted by GSS Strategy Group in Boise, finds the majority of the nation’s 50+ are concerned their age could be a barrier keeping them from finding a job.

Once out of a job, it takes older workers much longer than their younger counterparts to find one. According to an AARP analysis of the jobs report, in June, the average duration of unemployment for older workers was over a year, 55.6 weeks (down from 56 weeks in May), compared to younger workers, whose unemployment time lasted about 35.2 weeks (down from 38.5 weeks in May).

“If Idahoans 50 and older are anything like their counterparts across the nation, we know age discrimination is likely something going through their minds when they receive a rejection letter to their job application,” said David Irwin, Director of Communications for AARP in Idaho.

The AARP public opinion report finds that 77% of the nation’s 50+ think age would be an obstacle if they had to find a new job in the current economic climate. Based on what they’ve seen and heard, 64% of respondents think people over the age of 50 experience age discrimination in the workplace, while 34% say they’ve seen it firsthand.

The report also finds overwhelming support (78% of respondents) for bipartisan legislation to combat age discrimination in the workplace. A 2009 US Supreme Court ruling made it more difficult for workers to prove age discrimination, changing the rules so workers had to prove age was the decisive factor as opposed to one factor, posing a higher burden of proof from other types of discrimination (race, sex, nationality and religion).

The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA), would change the rules for age discrimination back. AARP strongly backs the legislation, currently working its way through Congress, and is urging the public to contact their Members of Congress on the issue:

Other findings from the AARP report:

· 16% of respondents who were retired have returned to work.

· Only 29% feel they are close to having enough money to retire.

· 92% of respondents agree older Americans have to work longer to make ends meet or save money for retirement.

· 92% feel the high cost of gas, health care, food and housing requires many Americans to work longer to rebuild retirement savings.

The full AARP report can be found online:

AARP has 180,000 members in Idaho.

About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with nearly 35 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, our bilingual multimedia platform for Hispanic members; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Age Discrimination

I totally agree with the whole article. But if you were to mention this to the Idaho Department of Labor they will flat out tell you "Your Wrong".

I was even told during a job interview that the company was looking for a person more their age. And never got called back for a second interview. Not even a "No Thank You" letter.

It took a poll?

Age discrimination definitely exists, but is so hard to prove. Companies have found a way around it for years. Just because they can't ask for your Birth-date anymore doesn't mean there aren't questions on an application that will help give them the answers they are looking for.
Age discrimination is also definitely in force when any downsizing is done. Most of us that were loyal and worked for the same company for 10 to 40 years were the first to be thrown away like yesterday's newspaper. Companies can hire entry level inexperienced employees for a much smaller wage and could care less that the experience that they are throwing away is going to hurt them in the long run.

dlilemma of aging

I find it interesting that the government wants to raise the retirement age since so many people can work past 65 these days. At the same time I bet lots of business owners who wouldn't hire someone over 50 on a bet. What everyone wants is them to die on the job and before they retire.


So 2/3's of the older workers have had no discrimination? That's awesome!

The other third may be lazy, low life, I want a handout types anyway.

Age Discrimination

Discrimination's comment is just bizzare. No one should be discriminated against because of age or any other bias. Knowing that 33% of older workers have been discriminated against because of age is disheartening. This is a tight job market and older workers should be given the same opportunities for employment as younger workers. I have researched the topic and found that there is bias toward older workers. Older workers are more expensive because of their experience; older workers make younger workers uncomfortable; older workers are harder to train since they are set in their ways; older workers have higher health care costs and absentism due to illness; older workers do not fit in socially with their younger peers; supervisors are often intimidated by older workers. The list goes on and all are incorrect and so is the DoL.

Well Duh

Thats alright, soon before you can get your "entitlements" that you paid in your whole life into, you will be about seventy years old. Good luck as a sixty nine year old finding any work at all let alone minimum wage or full time. Especially in Idaho where everything in business and state hiring is legal. I recently applied for a Laborer position, being over fifty I got a rejection letter telling me I was "unqulified". Elections matter old gray haired folks making less that fifty thou a year.

Tough one

In my experience, many older employees and applicants are "behind the times" in not only their appearances, but their lack of openness to technology, social media and other advancements.

I've literally heard older people say "I'm not very good at email" and "I don't do internet stuff."

To be successful, every person has to work hard to stay relevant and up-to-date. And I just don't see the older generation doing that. They probably expected to get into a job and stay there till retirement like past generations.

Would you say the same thing about a inner city black kid?

Same 'no job' skills, but you don't feel so bad sayin' it. Dontcha Sis. Funny libs, so predictable.

Is Riggins a ghetto?


You fry wants with that?

My mom had already determine it was useless and spendy

when she was driving dad to the VA the last two years of his life.


can't you guys just shoot and stab like normal people?

Go away, spawn.

you can't get cheeky wit' em no more, it stinks!


You fry wants with that?

Unemployment lower in older workers

The issue of aging in the workplace is complex. Unemployment numbers show there is lower unemployment among older workers. The highest rate of unemployment is among the young. Many college graduates are under or unemployed. This takes nothing away from the challenges faced by older workers. However instead of focusing on one group, let's look at improving employment for all. The young do not have a AARP to lobby for them.

Fair enough poll

But I'd be interested to know if they asked people, "Do you feel you have learned and acquired new skills, and kept up with the technology in your field?" Some of it could be lack of skills interpreted as age discrimination.

I was interested until I got to the part that said......


you can't even get properly haraszed if you've fallen down, luv!


You fry wants with that?

Funny thing is

you can blatantly discriminate against younger workers. Just put "x-number of years of experience required" in the help wanted ad.

Against the law, and the law DOESN'T WORK

Yeah, it's fine and dandy to make age discrimination illegal, but the legislation doesn't work. You can't prove age discrimination. Legislatures in whatever state pass a do-gooder law making age discrimination illegal, dust off their hands and smugly claim "yeah, we've done our job." And, here in the Real World, I'm here to tell you, age discrimination happens anyway.

Against WHAT law, sonny?

Too young to make a proper rationalization of it?


You fry wants with that?