It’s rare to go to an advisory industry event without hearing dire pronouncements about the greying of the industry and the need to recruit and groom younger advisors.

Unfortunately, the strategic solution to the industry’s age dilemma—hiring and training younger staff—can also have unintended consequences when it comes to running afoul of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which turned 50 this year.

“After 50 years of a federal law whose purpose is to promote the employment of older workers based on ability, age discrimination remains too common and too accepted,” EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic said.

Six out of 10 older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace and 90 percent of those say it is common, according to the the EEOC’s new report: The State of Age Discrimination and Older Workers in the U.S.

“Despite decades of research finding that age does not predict ability or performance, employers often fall back on precisely the ageist stereotypes the ADEA was enacted to prohibit,” Lipnic said.

Breaching age discrimination laws is a costly misstep for any company. Just ask Amazon, Facebook, Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), TMobile and a growing number of companies currently embroiled in age discrimination lawsuits brought by workers who allege that the companies aggressively discriminate against older employees by targetting ads to exclusively recruit younger workers.

“We knew this was going on all along behind the scenes and these lawsuits just bring it to light,” said Laurie McCann, a senior attorney for the AARP Foundation who believes favorable outcomes in these lawsuits could help improve job opportunities for older Americans by setting explicit standards for advertising and employment practices.

“ADEA was enacted 50 years ago and back then ads said, ‘No one over 50 years old need apply.’ Today, that kind of blatant in your face discrimination in hiring has just gone underground,” McCann said.

The lead plaintiff in the PWC case, who AARP is representing, is a certified public accountant over the age of 40 who claims that he was turned down for an entry-level position at the firm because, the lawsuit says, "PWC maintains hiring policies and practices for giving preference to younger employees that result in the disproportionate employment of younger applicants."

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers with 20 or more employees from discriminating against workers and job applicants who are 40 and older.

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