The EEOC is in the painful position of having to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which the EEOC has failed to aggressively enforce and arguably violates itself. The U.S. Congress passed the ADEA on December 15, 1967.
This important anniversary of the ADEA also shines a spotlight on how the EEOC has failed millions of older Americans who became victims of age discrimination in employment during and since the Great Recession.
Yet, the EEOC must go through the motions. That is the least that is expected of the agency that is responsible for enforcing the ADEA.
So the EEOC has adopted a handsome marketing logo, Ability Matters – Not Age, and the agency is purporting on Twitter to “count down” to the big day on Friday .
The modern history of the ADEA shows that a law does not yield justice if it is not enforced.
The EEOC, in recent rulings, appears to have completely subverted the stated goal of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which is to insure the most qualified candidate gets the job.
When former President Lyndon Johnson signed the ADEA fifty years ago, qualifications referred to criteria that were largely capable of objective measurement, like education, experience and achievement.
In August, the director of the Office of Federal Operations, Carlton M. Hadden, Jr., issued at least two decisions finding no discrimination in cases where highly-qualified applicants were passed over for much younger applicants with far few objective qualifications.
Hadden ruled that a white male police detective, 48, with 20 years of high-level experience in law enforcement, failed to show he was more qualified for the position of lead police officer at the Dallas veteran’s medical center than a female African-American in her 20s whose experience was limited to a stint in the Army military police. Hadden said the female candidate “arguably has more experience in the intangible areas sought by the (hiring panel), such as poise, compassion, leadership, and the ability to cope with stress …”
It would be a public relations nightmare for a single American corporation to wage the battle against older workers that is going on in federal court right now.
That’s why major American corporations are hiding behind the equivalent of “legal” super PACs (political action committees) to make their case. These PACs are akin to “political” super PACs that allow big donors to influence the course of national U.S. elections.
These legal super PACs, with their deep corporate pockets, include:
The Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC), which calls itself “a nationwide association of employers organized in 1976 to promote sound approaches to the elimination of employment discrimination.” When you read the name, you may think the organization promotes equal employment but, alas, it lobbies for a membership base that includes “over 250 major U.S. corporations” whose primary interest is economic, not equal rights.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce describes itself the “world’s largest business organization.” It represents the interests of more than 3 million businesses, including leading industry associations and large corporations. The chamber claims it protects business interests in Washington, D.C. but it also lobbies federal courts around the country.