The first thing you need to know about age discrimination is it’s unethical. As long as you can still perform your job according to your employer’s standards, they can’t fire you simply because they believe you’re too old.
Sadly, this happens all the time in most every industry. Employers believe younger employees would be more productive. However, even young employees may be discriminated against for being too young and being seen as inexperienced.
The Age Discrimination Act Of 1975
Age discrimination was so prevalent that a federal act (Age Discrimination Act of 1975) was passed to make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on age in regards to federal financial assistance programs and activities. These programs cannot use your age against you, no matter what it may be.
The Age Discrimination Act Of 1967
While 1975’s act protects people when it comes to financial assistance, the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 focuses on age discrimination in the workplace. It’s designed to protect people who are 40 years or older from being passed over for promotion, compensation, special privileges and hiring based solely on age. It also protects those 40 and older from being fired based on their age.
Age Discrimination Statistics
AARP takes age discrimination seriously and is pushing for stronger laws against it. The organization has even collected statistics to show how common this form of discrimination is and which ages are most affected:
· 66% of people between 45 and 74 have experienced or seen it happen.
· Workers over 35 have a harder time getting hired.
· Most people feel age discrimination peaks when you hit 50.
· 19% of people say not being hired is the most common form.
· 8% say being laid off or fired is how they’re discriminated against.
· In 2016, the EEOC dealt with over 20,000 age discrimination complaints.
· Older workers (age 50 and up) are more engaged at work. 65% of those age 55 and up are engaged at work, while only 58% to 60% of their younger counterparts are.
What’s even worse is older workers mean lower turnover rates in most cases. This makes it unreasonable to discriminate against them.
The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) addresses complaints of age discrimination. However, you need to have some type of proof for best results. For instance, if you’re doing your job well and you’re suddenly fired and replaced with someone much younger, you likely have a case. Even if there are massive layoffs, but only a certain age group is targeted, you should file a complaint. Workplace Fairness even provides a detailed Q&A on age discrimination laws, what to do if you’re under 40, what employer’s rights are and much more. If you suspect age discrimination, you should read over it to better understand your situation.
Standing Up For What’s Right
Whether it’s you or you see it happening to someone else, report it. The best way to end this unethical practice is by calling out those who do it. If your workplace has an anonymous whistleblower hotline, use it if you suspect age discrimination is an issue at your workplace.