A workplace is best when it has diversity of thought, race, gender, and age. However, although this is ideal, it is often not the reality. Many employers let biases influence hiring and firing, leading to less diversity in the workplace. The biases surrounding age may lead someone to question whether age matters in the workplace. The answer to this question is simple; it should not be a problem. Additionally, age discrimination in the workplace is illegal. Older workers may have concerns because of the growing number of age discrimination claims in the United States.
Age discrimination is not a rarity. In fact, a 2019 study released by Hiscox, an international insurance group, found that age discrimination charges doubled from 1990 to 2017 for those who are 65 years old or older. Similarly, the study found that 44 percent of participants claimed that they or someone they know experienced age discrimination at work.
Despite frequent claims of discrimination, less than half of the participants filed reports. Not filing a report inhibits a victim’s chance of seeking justice and damages for suffering; therefore, those dealing with age discrimination in the workplace are encouraged to contact a lawyer immediately.
What is Ageism?
Ageism is when an individual is discriminated against because of his or her age. Ageism results from stereotypes and biases. Many employers are led to believe that young workers have a lot of energy and low salary expectations.
Similarly, employers may believe that older workers are high maintenance and unable to learn new things in the workplace, especially when it comes to technology. This notion leads an employer to hire young workers and avoid older employees.
Ageism can affect both young and old individuals, however, most incidents affect older generations. In fact, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 76 percent of older Americans believe that age is a challenge when seeking employment. This statistic further proves that age discrimination is a prevalent issue in the workplace.
What Are the Signs of Ageism?
Ageism has a huge impact on a company’s culture. When identifying ageism, it is important to look at how work opportunities are handled. Some common signs of ageism include:
- Being overlooked for challenging projects.
- Being overlooked for promotions or raises.
- Seeing only younger employees receive learning opportunities.
- Hearing implicit or explicit negative remarks about older workers.
- Being left out of meetings or activities.
It is important to look for these signs of ageism in the workplace and act when necessary.
What Are the Benefits of Age Diversity in the Workplace?
Age discrimination is unfair to older workers, and businesses that lack age diversity are also inhibited. Businesses that have diversity see improvement in both job performance and company culture. Diverse organizations also benefit from having various voices with unique outlooks. This further proves that age diversity is an important component to a healthy workplace culture.
In the modern era, inclusivity is becoming an important part of a business. Society often looks at a business’s hiring process closely in order to identify discriminatory behavior. Most businesses are looked at under a microscope, so it is crucial to build an inclusive team. Promoting inclusivity and diversity also makes a good impression on both customers and stakeholders.
How Can I Prevent Age Discrimination in the Workplace?
Unfortunately, no workplace is immune to age discrimination; therefore, it is important to actively take steps to prevent discrimination from impacting an organization and its workers.
One step is to push awareness about ageism in the workplace. Employers should provide diversity training to prevent employees from making negative remarks about their older colleagues. Diversity training can lead to a better appreciation for inclusion, and a better company culture.
Another tip is to host networking events to give both young and older employees a chance to connect. This is a helpful step because it gives workers an opportunity to find common ground. It can also help both age groups build rapport and establish mutual respect. Similarly, networking helps to identify each group’s strengths and weaknesses in order to successfully accomplish goals as a team.
Identifying each group’s strengths and weaknesses helps to promote the value and expertise of each age group. Though young employees are often less experienced, they have the most room to grow. This may lead them to look up to the more experienced, older workers. Many older employees have more knowledge of the business, ultimately giving them the most insight on how a company can improve. Both groups are vital for achieving success in a company.
Unfortunately, most older workers are unable to join companies because of their interviews. This may be caused by an interviewer’s biased perspective and age-related questions. In order to avoid this, employers should implement an interview strategy. This interview strategy should include recruiter and interviewer diversity training to avoid age biases. Similarly, interviewers should avoid asking age-related questions during an interview. Finally, a business should diversify an interview panel.
Finally, the best method for preventing age discrimination is a strong disciplinary policy. The previous tips can help to prevent age discrimination in the workplace; however, it will not get rid of it entirely. In order to prevent more discrimination from happening, it is important to take discrimination reports seriously. All staff should know the policies regarding ageism and how to handle discrimination when it happens. Finally, employers should follow through with disciplinary action after performing an investigation.
What Can I do if I Face Age Discrimination at Work?
If discrimination goes unchecked, it could lead to various issues. Older individuals may find it difficult to get hired or promoted. Similarly, employers may face wrongful termination due to age discrimination. Older workers have the same rights as younger employees. Victims of age discrimination should take action and contact a lawyer immediately.
When a victim experiences discrimination, he or she should immediately tell his or her employer or a human resource representative. This helps to record the incident and should lead to the launch of an investigation. If action is not taken, the victim should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is responsible for handling discrimination reports. This organization can take punitive action against employers for failing to follow anti-discrimination laws.
It is important to note that the Age Discrimination Employment Act only protects workers 40 years old and older. It also does not protect those facing discrimination in the interview process. Finally, this law only applies to businesses with more than 20 employees. However, those looking for protection from age discrimination should look into the laws of their state. Some states have stronger laws regarding discrimination than federal ones.
Those contacting the EEOC should contact an employment discrimination lawyer. Contacting a lawyer is important because it helps victims collect and maximize entitled damages. This money could go towards lost wages, backpay, lost earning potential, legal fees, and pain and suffering. These damages may be rewarded for various reasons, including if the victim received less money than a young co-worker, if the victim was overlooked for certain promotions, or if he or she faced wrongful termination.
Philadelphia Age Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Those Suffering from Age Discrimination in the Workplace
If you are experiencing age discrimination at work, you need to contact one of our respected Philadelphia age discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. immediately. Our lawyers work closely with clients to recover necessary damages. We understand the emotional and financial toll that age discrimination takes on employees. For more information and a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 215-569-1999. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.