U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
When Steve Maril responded to an online advertisement for a sales position, he never expected to be asked via email if he fit the "ideal age range of 45 to 52." Steve, 58 at the time, provided his age only to be told again via email that the company was looking for a younger candidate, but "I'll probably regret passing on you." They would and then some! . . .
I received the email on a Friday saying I was too old to work for them. Monday morning, I went to my local EEOC office to file. I did not think that it was something the company should be able to get away with strictly because of my age.
After I got over the shock that anyone would put that in writing these days, the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I would have been a really good fit for them. It was a job I was very capable of doing.
There are remedies to correct the wrong. It was a fairly easy path to get help to fix it.
You can still be productive. 65 is no longer a valid retirement age. My parents lived until their mid-90s. I'm wanting to work until mid-seventies maybe. 60 might be the new 40.
All in all, it was great. They were very welcoming and helpful. I left there feeling like I had a group of advocates who agreed with me and wanted to help make things right and fix it to where it would not happen again.
The decision-maker who excluded Mr. Maril used age as a proxy for both experience and retirement potential. But the irony of the case was that, of all the individuals involved, the decision-maker was by far the oldest. This case was important because it serves as a reminder: the discriminatory act suffered by the victim can be carried out by someone from the same protected class.
The ADEA requires that workers, not employers, make judgments about the appropriate time to leave the workforce. We will always stand for victims of bias outlawed by the statutes we enforce.