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Media analysis suggests older American workers under pressure

There have always been on-the-job claims that stress unlawful discrimination aimed at older workers.

Those allegations are presently increasing, though, contends an in-depth workplace expose. The publication Pro Publica concludes that older workers across the country are facing unprecedented age-bias pressures. The news source stresses that court decisions and trends are simultaneously undercutting their protections.

Pro Publica acknowledges the seminal 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act that was essentially tacked on to the earlier Civil Rights Act conferring broad employee protections. It concedes that the ADEA goes far toward safeguarding the workplace rights of older workers. It notes at the same time, though, that Supreme Court rulings and recent pro-employer trends dilute work protections for that demographic.

Two developments seem especially worth noting. One spotlights the major role played by arbitration in employer-worker spats. Private arbitration has been increasingly specified in employment contracts in recent years as being the sole process for resolving age-bias and other discrimination claims. Its use has been routinely upheld by courts. The result is that a public trial has not been an option for legions of disgruntled employees.

Another trend involves the chilling of class-action claims achieved through employee-signed waivers. Those bar collective action being undertaken by similarly affected workers.

A recent comment from an EEOC adviser that "courts have stripped the law of its protections" might arguably be deemed as an overstated concern. It certainly seems to be grounded, however, in a reality marked by progressively dwindling worker protections.

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