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Age discrimination in the workplace grows

There's a commonly-held perception that people over 40 suffer from age discrimination in the workplace in Finland. Although labour law professor Seppo Koskinen cautions that age discrimination may increase as the official retirement age in Finland is raised, not all of the statistics bear out a bias against older employees - yet.

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Image: Jukka-Pekka Tyhtilä / Yle

If a job-seeker is over 40 years old, many believe that they will not get hired. In Finland there also seems to be a belief that the older a person is, the greater likelihood there is that they will be among the first fired during co-determination talks.

Turku bus driver Tapio Ojala, 63, says the rhetoric holds that a worker over 50 is "an invaluable resource and a wealth of knowledge," but the reality is different: anybody middle-aged or older is asked when they will leave, retire, or move onto social assistance.

Seppo Koskinen, professor of labour law at the University of Turku, says that, "the most common example of age discrimination is in the job recruitment situation, where according to some recent studies those over 40 experience difficulties getting hired. The other common scenario is that co-determination talks target older workers," he says.

Research indicates that 1 in 10 employees have charged employers with age discrimination and are taking matters forward to the legal level. 

However, according to a Statistics Finland report published in May of this year, it is the young - those under 30 - who report experiencing far more age discrimination than those over 50 in the most recent "Quality of Work Life Survey." In the survey, compiled during 2013, the 50+ set reported experiencing several percentage points less discrimination in the workplace when measured with comparable statistics dating back to 1997 at the end of the last recession.

Sources: Yle

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