Ethics Hotlines Address Ageism

Ageism in the workplace is a real phenomenon that affects a host of different business segments and industries. While you might believe you’ve laid in every precaution and ethics policy measure to stave off ageism, it could still be present among your ranks. Here are some scenarios that might occur, despite your best efforts to avoid them, allowing age discrimination and inequality to seep into your organization.

Recognizing Ageism

Ageism and age discrimination have more complex definitions that go beyond the obvious. It’s more than just firing someone who’s approaching retirement age. And to truly adopt an anti-ageism approach to company operations, you’ll want to understand the various nuances and situations that represent ageist risks in today’s workplace. Start by recognizing the various types of ageism:

Institutional Ageism: Actions and policies that make ageism possible in hiring, management, compensation, and other institutional ecosystems.

Interpersonal Ageism: Actions that occur in social settings or workplace interactions between staff, guests, vendors, or clients.

Internalized Ageism: Actions an individual takes because he or she believes and internalizes ageist beliefs and applies the misconception internally.

Know that there should be no place for any of the above within your company culture. And every mitigation step you take should seek to avoid these types of ageism.

Age Discrimination in Recruiting

Today’s managers need to be mindful of intentional or unintentional ageism in recruiting and hiring. Not considering a candidate because of their age is more prevalent than you might think. And subscribing to stereotypes about aging individuals is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, opening your organization up to risks of fines or litigation.

Front-Line Worker Discrimination by Age

How your managers assign duties and responsibilities to employees can present ageism missteps, too. A front-line worker might be reassigned to another set of tasks based on a perception that he or she can’t handle the workload. From physically demanding roles to complex, technical roles, you’ll need to make sure your supervisors aren’t engaging in ageism in their management practices. And these risks exist even in the most entry-level of positions.

Ageism in Promotions

Growing companies will often look internally to promote existing staff into new positions and leadership roles. And these promotions can be subject to ageism, as well. Be mindful to coach your management teams about careful consideration and adhering to guidelines that ensure fair determinations. Passing over one candidate for another based on age is a violation.

Age Discrimination in Compensation

Ageism can be present within the arenas of compensation, bonuses, and raises. And regular audits of your company’s current pay scale are needed to ensure fair and equitable compensation companywide. A tenured employee should never be denied compensation or increases based on age. And hiring younger employees at higher pay rates, without addressing existing workers’ pays, presents ageism-related risks.

An Ethics Hotline Can Help

Consider reviewing your company’s internal policies and talking with your department managers about ageism. Streamline your training initiatives to also address and define age discrimination so everyone knows how to recognize and avoid it. And to add another layer of risk mitigation, implement an ethics hotline. As an anonymous and confidential resource for reporting concerns and violations, you can reinforce your zero-tolerance policy regarding ageism in the workplace. And Ethical Advocate can be your ethics hotline guide. Contact our team to discuss your ethics policies and learn how a hotline can help!