Even though 2004 Austrlian age discrimination laws were meant to help older workers, a report issued by National Seniors Australia finds that the law leads often to nimble side-stepping--compliance with the letter rather than the spirit of the law. In addition to showing how age discrimination is more often covert and notoriously difficult to prove, "The Elephant in the Room: Age Discrimination in Employment" calls on policy makers to:
- examine the issue of "disguised discrimination' and strengthen the relevant anti-discrimination legislation to reduce the likelihood of covert discrimination;
- ensure individuals can make their own work or retirement choices in the light of their own health, aspirations, financial status and family situations; and
- promote greater awareness by employees of their rights to complain about age discrimination.
With the age discrimination laws in place, employers are now much more sophisticated in how they exclude older workers. For example they may use recruitment agencies to screen applicants, employ code terms such as “overqualified” or frame advertisements denoting youth.Sources: National Seniors Australia Press Release (April 30, 2011); 774 ABC Melbourne Chat with Age Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick (May 4, 2011)