Despite legal prohibitions, workers across the nation are frequently subject to workplace discrimination on the basis of age. Many older Americans face age bias in the workplace as more choose to work past the age of 65, with 40 percent of adults ages 65 to 69, and 25 percent of people ages 70 to 74, expected to be still working through 2030.
Unfortunately, older workers sometimes do not feel welcome in the workforce. An AARP survey found that nearly 80 percent of older workers reported seeing or experiencing age discrimination on the job, with thousands of complaints filed with the EEOC in the 2020 fiscal year alone.
Age discrimination is not unlike other forms of discrimination where someone may be unjustly terminated, passed over for promotions, or be subject to other adverse employment actions. Employees may even be harassed because of their age or retaliated against if they make a complaint after being treated unfairly. If treatment is severe and pervasive, resulting in a hostile work environment, an employee may have a case of age discrimination.
When an older employee is pushed out because of their age, it can be devastating both emotionally and financially. Older applicants may have limited career paths after being let go as some employers prefer younger applicants who typically start at a lower wage.
Age discrimination and sex discrimination can go hand in hand. Older women are more likely to be discriminated against than men according to a recent study which concludes that interview offers decline twice as fast for women at age 65 as they do for men the same age.
Of course, proving age discrimination is not always easy, but there are a number of ways to support a case of age discrimination in the workplace. If you believe you are being harassed or discriminated against in the workplace due to your age, it is important to document incidents in real time:
Inappropriate comments should be recorded along with who made the remarks and who may have witnessed the incident. Make note of any patterns of older workers let go only to be replaced by younger workers. If a poor performance review comes out of left field after and you suspect ageism is at work, contact HR to file a complaint and be sure to memorialize the meeting. If filling a complaint strikes a nerve resulting in retaliation, be sure to document any incidences.
If you are dealing with age discrimination or other discrimination in the workplace, it can be very upsetting, especially if it has resulted in the loss of a job. It is important to discuss your concerns with an experienced employment law attorney who can advise you on the next steps. Contact the employment law offices of Alan C. Olson & Associates for immediate assistance.