Official complaints to federal and state advocates about age discrimination are starting well before retirement age

A national inquiry has heard that society’s obsession with youth and looks is driving down the age when bosses consider employees to be past their use-by date.

Official complaints to federal and state advocates about age discrimination start well before retirement age, with Queenslanders complaining that they are being sacked and passed over for work from their 40th birthday.

Cases include an employee in the 45-54 age bracket who was told they were too old to use the stairs at work and fired for safety reasons.

Another was made redundant because the company needed “fresh faces”.

Age and Disability Commissioner Susan Ryan is currently touring the country as part of a Federal Government inquiry into age and disability discrimination in Australian workplaces.

Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Kevin Cocks. Picture: Bruce Long

Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Kevin Cocks. Picture: Bruce Long

She said there was an “infatuation with youth’’ and HR managers had admitted to her that they preferred younger workers. “It makes no sense but it happens,” she said.

She said 45 year olds were finding doors “shut in their face everywhere they go”.

The issue came to the fore at a recent meeting of national HR managers, who admitted hirers – often in their 30s – did have a bias against people older than themselves.

Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Kevin Cocks said the problem was across industries and genders, although he nominated flight attendants, the media and academia as memorable cases he had seen.

Despite previously having a successful career in consulting, Sue, 65, who is now a retail worker in Brisbane’s CBD, said she was repeatedly knocked back when she attempted to re-enter the workplace as an over 50.

“I applied for 180 jobs in a matter of weeks. I have no doubt it had to do with my age,” Sue said.

Source: The Courier Mail

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