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What Is the Difference Between Ageism and Age Discrimination?

January 4th, 2024
Our Philadelphia Age Discrimination Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Can Help You With ADEA Violations

Ageism and age discrimination, while related, are not interchangeable. Ageism refers to stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory attitudes based on an individual’s age. It is a societal issue that extends beyond the workplace, affecting various aspects of life, including healthcare, media representations, and interpersonal relationships. Ageism can be directed at any age group, not just older adults. For instance, a young worker may be dismissed as inexperienced and unreliable based on age.

While ageism refers to attitudes and biases, age discrimination pertains to actions. In employment, age discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant less favorably because of age. It is important to note that in the United States, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their age, provided the individual is 40 years or older.

Under the ADEA, it is illegal for an employer to make decisions about hiring, firing, layoffs, promotions, or any other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on a person’s age (40 years or older). This means an employer cannot use age to determine who gets hired, who gets promoted, or who gets let go during company downsizing.

Illegal Actions Committed by Employers

Employers are also prohibited from including age preferences, limitations, or specifications in job notices or advertisements, with few exceptions. For example, an employer may not post a job ad seeking “recent college graduates,” which implies a preference for younger applicants.

It is also unlawful to harass a person because of their age. Harassment can include offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s age. However, simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents are not usually considered serious and do not amount to illegal harassment.

A Philadelphia Age Discrimination Lawyer at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Can Protect Your Rights

Ageism and age discrimination, while interrelated, are distinct. Ageism is about bias and prejudice, while age discrimination involves actions that disadvantage people because of their age. Both can create a hostile work environment. If you have faced illegal age discrimination at work, speak with a Philadelphia age discrimination lawyer at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. 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, Montgomery County, and Cherry Hill.

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