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Age discrimination: A true problem in the workforce

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2017 | Employment Law

Age discrimination is a true problem in America. There are individuals who work their entire lives for a company only to lose their jobs when they get to an age that the employer sees as being too old. While most people won’t experience this kind of discrimination, it’s still seen too often.

Age discrimination takes place when an employer hires, fires, promotes or demotes a person based on age alone. Age discrimination is covered under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which makes age discrimination against those 40 or older illegal. It doesn’t help to protect those under that age, but there are some other laws that could help if you’re under 40 and discriminated against.

1. How can you recognize age discrimination.

Recognizing age discrimination is the first step in addressing it. It can happen in a number of ways. An applicant may not be hired due to being over 40, for example, because the employer prefers to have younger workers in the workplace. Another example would be if a person applied for a promotion but was turned down for a younger applicant with less experience.

Discrimination in the form of harassment is also forbidden under the ADEA. For example, calling a person an “oldie” in the workplace could end up causing an employer problems.

It is not discriminatory for employers to hire or promote younger workers if they meet the needs of the program and have the experience required for the role.

2. Why would an employer discriminate based on age.

Employers might discriminate based on age for a few reasons. Maybe the employer believes that the office appears more attractive with younger workers. Another reason could be that the employer wants to pay less to a new employee who is fresh out of school, for example, compared to an older employee who costs him more money to pay. Age discrimination can be hard to identify in some cases, because few people come out and say they are hiring a person or promoting that person based on age.

3. What should you do if you’ve been discriminated against?

If you feel you’ve been discriminated against at work, the first thing you may need to do is to reach out to your human resources department. If that doesn’t help correct the problem, then your attorney can help you collect evidence to use in a claim against your employer. With the right support, you can make your claim clear, so a judge or jury sees the discrimination you’ve been through.