You have spent your life building your career. When that experience is not respected, you may be the victim of age discrimination. Discrimination based on your age is illegal, just like discrimination based on race, gender or sex.
Age discrimination may be more common than you think.
According to an AARP survey, a quarter of workers age 45 and older had been subjected to negative comments about their age. Other studies confirm that discrimination is common. More than half of people in their early 50s and working full time had been forced out of a job and experienced difficulties in getting a new job or achieving the same pay.
What forms does age discrimination take?
Age discrimination can range from subtle comments to overt firings. Some of the many forms of age discrimination can include:
- Harassment—Even if they are meant to be light-hearted, unwelcome comments about your age can create a hostile work environment.
- Favoritism based on age—Have you been passed over for a promotion for a worker that is younger than you? Are younger workers disciplined less often or praised more often? This favoritism can be stressful and cut you off from important advancement opportunities.
- Age specific jobs listings or apprenticeships—If a business cuts off your access to jobs and training programs because of your age, that discrimination limits your ability to build your career.
- Denying you employment because of your age—Whether a business passes over older applicants or targets older employees in layoffs, this behavior could be illegal discrimination.
If you have experienced harassment or discrimination on the job, investigate whether your employer has a discrimination policy. Reporting this issue to your employer will give them the opportunity to fix the problem.
If your company does not make steps to correct this discrimination, you can file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or and speak to an attorney to explore your options.