New order against age discrimination in the workplace

Age discrimination is a common problem for many seniors and Americans approaching retirement age. While it is strictly outlined in The Age Discrimination in Employment Act that employers, coworkers or managers cannot treat their employees less favorably due to their age, the practice still occurs throughout various industries.

In a recovering economy, age discrimination can make it difficult for employees of all ages to continue earning wages and the promotions or positions they deserve. According to a recent report by The Washington Post, the number of age discrimination charges made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the last few years has actually declined. Reportedly, there were 22,857 claims in 2012, representing 23 percent of all claims to the Commission. By comparison, there were 21,396 claims, or 22.8 percent of all claims, in 2013. Both figures are down from the 24,582 claims in 2008, which reached a share of 26 percent of all claim filings. However, these records don't indicate that age discrimination is actually less prevalent. The drop could be a result of a stabilizing job force, where fewer people may report these charges.

New laws on the books
While there are already laws in place to protect seniors and workers of all ages from discrimination, a recent development has occurred that may help reduce the practice. President Barack Obama signed an executive order called The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which will block contracts from being given to corporations that were found to have discrimination records.

"Taxpayer dollars should not reward corporations that break the law, so today President Obama is cracking down on federal contractors who put workers' safety and hard-earned pay at risk," read a White House statement.

The new provision will require potential contractors to disclose any labor law violations. Already, corporations that are in the running to secure government contracts must be reviewed, but often labor violations are overlooked or not considered at all. The new structure in the executive order will also encourage companies to settle any disputes that are current, which includes paying back wages, the White House said. The order is valid for contracts that are worth more than $500,000 to ensure corporations are compliant with labor laws.

The effects are expected to be far-reaching, as the Department of Labor estimates there are 24,000 businesses with contracts through the federal government. Roughly, this comes out to about 28 million employees who are indirectly employed through these contracts.

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