“We Are Looking For Longevity”

We have all been aging from day 1 — and with some luck we will make it into the federally protected class of “over 40” – and with a lot more luck we will continue plugging on.  And aging.

Which is one reason why discrimination based on age is so hurtful.

I want to share a reader’s personal story of ageism that was emailed to me today:

“I always enjoy reading your articles in the ACC Newstand, particularly those dealing with ageism.   I have another ageist story that might sound interesting to you.

I will be 66 this year and working in a corporate legal operations manager role.   A couple of years ago, I found myself thinking about going back to a law firm environment.  An opportunity arose, and I applied for a position as a Law Firm Executive Director, a position for which I am extremely qualified, and which was acknowledged during the interview.

However, the people interviewing me, one of whom is an attorney, made the comment that the firm was looking for ‘longevity,’ which I took to mean that since I was older, they did not expect me to work that much longer.

I knew at that moment that I did not get the job.  I feel fortunate that I have a great position here and no one is trying to get me to retire!”

Takeaway:  “Longevity” – yet another word which was used as a proxy for “age” in order to discriminate.

The email writer concluded: “Ageism truly is an issue, and I hope that you will continue to address it in your writing.”

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]les.com