Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has opened an investigation into allegations that online software tools that millions of Americans use to job hunt is discriminating against older workers.
The San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank found that in a widespread test using fabricated resumes, fictional older workers were 30 percent less likely to be contacted after applying for jobs.
Fictional older women had it even worse, being 47 percent less likely to get a “callback”. Several forces are conspiring to ensure that many Americans must work well past the traditional retirement age of 65.
Because people are living longer, their retirement savings are inadequate, and Social Security reforms are almost certainly going to require it.
The San Francisco Fed says that the share of the older 65 working population is projected to rise sharply — from about 19 percent now to 29 percent in the year 2060.
But while online job-hunting tools should be making things easier for older employment seekers, online job sites seem to be cutting older workers out with age bias is built right into their software.
In a statement, Madigan said that Job seekers who try to build a profile or resume can find that it’s impossible to complete some forms because drop-down menus needed to complete tasks don’t go back far enough to let older applicants fill them out.
For example, one site’s menu options for “years attended college” stops abruptly at 1956. That could prevent someone in their late 70s from filling out the form.
Madigan’s office said it found one example that only accommodated those who had attended school after 1980, “barring anyone who is older than 52.”
Other sites used dates ranging from 1950 to 1970 as cutoffs, her office said. The Illinois’ Civil Rights Bureau has opened a probe into potential violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Madigan’s office has written letters to six top jobs sites including Beyond.com, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Ladders, Monster Worldwide and Vault to ask them about their policies.
Employers in two American states will now be banned by law from demanding access to their employees’ social media accounts.
Previously, workers were not protected by law if employers demanded access to their password-protected social networks, including Mark Zuckerberg’s data mining operation, Facebook.
Over 400 measures, including others that dealt with topics from consumper protection to healthcare, were proposed and enacted in 2012. The social network protection law and some others took effect 1 January, 2013, while more will be made law later this year.
Although workers are exempt from bosses bullying their way into privately held accounts, the laws do not extend to protecting against information found publicly or otherwise on social networks – they just prevent private access. This means openly tweeting about a boss’s intrusive web snooping could still land workers in trouble.
Those who appreciate tinfoil headwear should also keep in mind the data held by these networks is still accessible for law enforcement.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, schools can be punished in any cases where they refuse to admit students because they did not want to provide personal information like passwords for private social networking and email accounts.
The Illinois Senate has passed an Internet Tax Bill meaning that out-of-state merchants such as Amazon will have to pay state tax despite having no physical presence in the area.
The Bill will be made law immediately if signed by the Governor today, having already been approved by the House of Representatives yesterday, and will effect firms such as online retail giant Amazon who have relationships with Illinois advertisers and publishers.
It is thought that the reason behind the passing of the Bill is to increase tax revenues for the state despite a firm having no actual presence there.
However there have reportedly been problems with similar laws made in other states such as New York, Colorado, North Carolina and Rhode Island that have charged out-of-state companies tax, with merchants severing relationships with publishers in the state. Similar legislation to the Internet Tax Bill has been rejected by twelve other states however.
It is noted that in Illinois it is believed the passing of legislation will have significant effects on the profits of firms affiliated to Amazon such as CouponCapin which expressed dismay at the prospect of the new law, stating that such a move is in fact counterintuitive.
“Needless to say, we are disappointed by the passing of the legislation today. It was disheartening that both Houses passed this bill in 30 hours without a full and fair opportunity for the voice of Illinois small businesses to be heard.”
“Unfortunately, this bill will do significant harm to our growth by cutting our business by nearly one-third.”
“We hope the State will see that this bill will fail to achieve its revenue-raising goal, and instead cause drastic hardship for small businesses like ours. We know from other states’ experience that the tax revenue does not materialize.”
“Should this bill become a law, Internet affiliate jobs will be lost with no increase in state revenue. The other states that have passed this are moving to repeal it for this exact reason. We hope consideration will be given to the impact on small businesses before this bill becomes a law.”