Age discrimination is alive and well in today’s workplace.  According to a new AARP report, a record number of job-seekers - aged 55 and older - filed complaints for age discrimination last year. And like it or not, many experts agree the problem is real! They say the harsh reality is that managers tend to feel less guilty about firing older workers, because they represent an easy way for companies to cut salary.

But today’s older job-seekers stay unemployed an average of one year – which is about four months longer than younger job-seekers. And despite all the complaints, lawyers say age discrimination is extremely hard to prove in court.

 Workers over 55 are not only the first to get fired – but they stay unemployed 4 months longer than younger workers. So, here are some tricks to help you fight age discrimination. They come from Howard Eglit, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law:

First, you need to show employers that you’re worth hiring.  And he says the easiest way to do that is to go back to school, to learn new skills that companies want.

Also: Think about how you project yourself to others. Like: Do you joke about how much of a “fuddy duddy” you are, because you can’t understand new gadgets or computer programs? Then Elgit says you need to stop doing that, because today’s companies want workers who can adapt to new technology.

Next, if hiring managers express concern about your age, remind them of the difference between perception and reality for older workers. For example: The perception is that older workers get injured more than younger workers. But the reality is that older workers get injured less, because they take fewer risks. 

Another perception is that older workers cost more to insure. But in reality, companies pay the highest health insurance premiums to insure young women, who are more likely to become pregnant.

Finally, the perception is that older workers call in sick more often than younger workers. But statistics show the exact opposite is true.