More workers than ever are retaining employment and actively working late in their adult years. This creates a workforce that is almost as heavily populated with workers over 40 as it is with those under 40. This aging workforce also leads to more frequent instances of age discrimination.
Recognizing age discrimination and understanding the facts about protection can help you decide how to handle concerns in your workplace.
Age discrimination is not always blatant
Age discrimination comes in many forms that may not be immediately apparent.
- Older employees prioritized in a layoff
- Younger employees receiving the preferred trip assignments
- Hiring methods that prioritize younger candidates
- Subtle comments about age, such as retirement jokes
Any of these behaviors may qualify as age discrimination.
Interview questions can indicate age discrimination
Direct questions about your age or focused questions that could reveal your age are prohibited in interviews. If a potential employer asks you any age-related questions beyond confirming that you are of legal age to work and you are subsequently passed over despite qualifications, that could indicate age discrimination.
Age discrimination only protects certain groups
Age discrimination protections in the workplace only apply to those workers who are 40 years old or older. Any workers under the age of 40 do not qualify for those protections. It is important to recognize that discrimination can come from those over 40 as well, but many actions and statements that are considered discrimination only qualify as such when they are directed at someone who is at least 40 years old.
Recognizing age discrimination in the workplace is important to help protect an aging workforce.