One of our interviewees, George Dys, 60, a design engineer from Forestdale, RI, describes how he was laid off in the video below. He feelss bitter because he was let go 19 hours short of becoming fully vested in his former employer’s 401K.
I feel my "layoff" was particularly heartless because I was on day one of a short bereavement leave. My dear mother had passed away only hours before US Bank decided to lay me off the following day. I was at the mortuary making funeral arrangements for my mother when my supervisor called me to confirm that I would be on a pre-scheduled conference call. At that time, about 90 minutes before the conference call, I told her that my mother had passed away the night before and that I would be taking a short bereavement leave. I got on the call and I was told by the senior person on the call that she was sorry my mother had passed away and offered her hollow condolences. We waited for my counterpart, who was traveling for business, to deplane and join the call. They delivered the layoff news to both of us on a conference call! Cowardly, indecent, insensitive, and cruel are words that come to mind. I am 58 and I believe Mark is between 50 and 55. Almost impossible to prove age discrimination, but it certainly reeks of it. I can be reached at 818.398.8078, if you want any more details.
-posted Nov. 13, 2014
Although I am self-employed, I have tried to follow the issues surrounding the downturn in the economy and especially unemployment. From my perspective, it appears to me that a wide range of businesses used the downturn in the economy as a reason (or excuse) to shed themselves of not only the short-term costs of wages, but more significantly the long-term costs they were facing with workers who had pension benefits due to them (or soon to be due them as in George's case). I think also, the businesses shed themselves of those employees who were a bigger liability in terms of potential health care costs to the firms, short-term and long-term. No doubt, employees over 50 were more likely to have all of these qualities which, again in my view, made them prime targets for dismissal. AND, more importantly, it is an often unstated reason why employers are not wanting to hire them now. I do not think that there was any kind of conspiracy among businesses to do this, but I do think they are aware of the reason a lot of the older workers were let go. I would hope that there are a number of studies done to help document whether my view is correct or not. I suspect that the legal profession, especially where large corporations are concerned, was utilized to dismiss these "higher cost" (for lack of a better term) employees in such a way as to not make it appear that it was age discrimination but purely a "economic decision". Any whistleblowers out there?
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