Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Age Discrimination in Hiring Practices: It Happened to Me

Just as sure as the rivers flow to the sea, age discrimination in hiring is going on daily. People age 50 and above are losing their jobs at an alarming rate due to companies closing their doors or just downsizing. These “seniors” are left to look for jobs that are being filled by people in their 20’s. Very few companies want to hire a person age 50-65, no matter how much experience they have or how low of a wage they are willing to accept.

I have suffered age discrimination in my search for a job several times, but the most blatant was 2 weeks ago. I have 3 years experience working at the front desk of a dentist. I have filed insurance claims, collected payments, greeted patients, ordered dental supplies, explained billing, filed prior authorizations and claims for Ohio Medicaid, answered the phones, made appointments and done everything in between. I left that office in March because it was such a far drive. The cost to fill my gas tank was eating up almost 1/3 of my part-time wages.


I saw there was an opening at a dental office less than 3 miles from my home in the Sunday paper. I called early Monday morning and talked directly to the office manager. She asked me about my experience and I told her. She said, and I quote “You are just what we are looking for,” followed by: “Is it possible to start immediately?” She asked if I could come in at 11 and fill out an application and please bring my resume. She assured me that we would be able to talk further about salary and benefits when I came in. I thought, from the way things were going that I had the job or at least was in the running for it.


When I arrived 10 minutes early, I was greeted by a very young, very tanned, very blond receptionist. She asked me: “Who are you here for?” Huh? What ever happened to: “Hello, how can I help you?” I was given an application and sent to a chair. As I was writing a 20-something, also very tanned, Lindsey Lohan look a like came out and told me she was Lisa, the office manager. I stood up, smiled, introduced myself and reached out to shake her hand. In response she turned and walked away. I finished the application and took it to the front desk where I was told to sit down and the office manager would be out to talk to me. Twenty minutes later the receptionist told me I could leave, the office manager was busy and that she’d call me later. She never called. A week later they were still running the ad in the paper. So much for that “immediate” need for help.


The only conclusion I could make from this experience is that I was too old to work there. On the phone I was perfect for the job and they couldn’t wait to meet me. When I arrived there for the interview I was clean, well dressed in business attire, and acted courteously and professionally. The only conclusion I can come to is that at age 54, I was too old.


My pursuit for the perfect part-time job continues. In a way I’m glad I wasn’t called because had I been hired I probably would have been ignored and treated poorly by the other staff there. Eventually, I will find an employer that is looking for a reliable, smart, polite woman with a few wrinkles and many good years left.


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