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Do Most People Keep Their Long-Term Jobs until Retirement?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers in the United States if they’re at least 40 years old. However, AARP reports that about 67 percent of workers 55 to 65 years old have encountered some sort of discrimination at work -- and when complaints are formally lodged, only 16 percent of the cases are resolved in their favor. So the results of a 2018 study of 20,000 workers (aged 50 and up) should come as no surprise. The 26-year study found that an astounding 56 percent of older workers in long-term, full-time positions left their jobs involuntarily, before they were ready to retire.

Pushed out before retirement:

  • Data analysis by the Urban Institute and ProPublica found that many older workers in the U.S. face unexpected job loss and financial setbacks during the stage of life when saving for retirement is arguably the most important.

  • The researchers found that 28 percent of these workers had been laid off at least once. Another 15 percent stopped working when their work situation deteriorated, including circumstances such as supervisor harassment or a reduction in pay and/or hours.

  • Another 13 percent of older workers were simply forced out of their jobs. “Unfortunately, age discrimination seems to be the one form of bias that is still acceptable,” says AARP’s Susan Weinstock.

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