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Older Workers Tackle Age Discrimination

Scandal rocked the high-profile world of Welsh rugby this week when legendary player Stephen Clee was told to hang up his boots because he was too old to take the field.

Clee, 55, was told by his team, the Tonyrefail RFC, that the Welsh Rugby Union does not insure players older than 55.

Besides athletes and, perhaps, actors, few us will ever face such blatant and unrestrained age discrimination. But many job seekers over 40 say they're skipped over every day.

Trude Diamond, 63, who spoke to TheLadders' Debra Donston-Miller for a piece titled "Job Seekers of a Certain Age," has been out of work two years and strongly suspects that the companies with which she interviews are reluctant to hire an employee they believe is likely to retire soon. "I just really wanted to work at a job that I liked and could do for the next 10 years or so," she told us.

There's no denying the strong back line of defense older professionals face. On average, workers age 55 and older can expect to be out of work 35 weeks, 20 percent longer than those age 25 to 54 years old, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So what's an older player to do? Tackle the issue head-on. Carrell Chadwell, a psychologist and the author of "Changing Careers in a Changing World," told Donston-Miller that many employers are likely to wonder how long an older worker will be with an organization. The best defense is a strong offense, Chadwell said: "They're likely to wonder how long you are going to stay. You want to mention that. Tell them what your goals are and that you will be there at least several years."