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How Should I Handle Ageist Comments at Work?

March 30th, 2023
Ageist comments at work

Ageism is a form of discrimination that many people are not aware of in the workplace. It refers to prejudice or stereotypes against individuals or groups because of their age. In the workplace, age discrimination can manifest in the form of derogatory comments from coworkers, unequal treatment from supervisors, or even denial of job opportunities.

Ageist comments can be detrimental for employees. Ageist comments may lead to feelings of being overlooked or underappreciated due to assumptions made about their capabilities. Older employees may also face difficulty finding new employment if they have been laid off due to discriminatory practices in past workplaces. These comments can create a hostile work environment.

Age discrimination is illegal under federal law if it affects the terms and conditions of employment (e.g., hiring, firing, promotions). Examples include refusing to hire someone over 40 years old because they might not fit with office culture; denying an employee a promotion due to their age; making jokes about someone’s age; and using language such as “too old” when referring to an individual’s qualifications for a job role. It is important for employers to recognize that any type of discriminatory behavior has no place in the workplace and should be addressed immediately if it occurs.     

It is also illegal for employers to harass employees with frequent jokes or comments targeting someone’s age that creates an uncomfortable working environment. Employees may not always know your rights in the workplace. Many employees brush off these comments without realizing they may have legal rights worth protecting.

Being aware of your rights is the first step toward combating ageism in the workplace. When faced with ageist comments, you should do the following:

  • Talk to the person. Tell the person to stop making inappropriate comments.
  • Keep calm. Do not escalate the situation. Talk to the person in a calm manner.
  • Report it to HR and/or your supervisor. Report instances of age discrimination. If your employer fails to correct the problem, you may be able to file a claim. Speak with a lawyer to learn about your potential legal options.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Can Protect Your Rights if You Are Being Discriminated in the Workplace

Ageism at work is unacceptable. Ageist comments can be a sign of more serious legal issue. Speak with one of our Philadelphia employment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. to learn more. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, and Montgomery County.

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