elderly man in office

Signs of Ageism in the Workplace and What to Do About It

Studies show that older people, in particular those over 60 years of age, are more likely to be discriminated against on the job than their younger counterparts. In fact, these studies show that before older people even get a job interview, they’re less likely to get a call back after submitting a resume. 

This form of discrimination is becoming more prevalent than ever, as people are living longer, healthier lives and want to stay active in the workplace well into their 60s and beyond. However, age discrimination isn’t just bad for employees. It’s also detrimental to companies and society.

Signs of Ageism in the Workplace

There are many signs of ageism in the workplace, ranging from very subtle to extremely obvious. If you’re an older employee, you may have already seen or experienced one or more of the signs of ageism in the workplace disguised as common practice.

You’ve Been Reassigned to Unfavorable Duties

One of the easiest ways for companies to force out older employees is to put them on the worst possible assignments or responsibilities. This can include the most uncomfortable or difficult tasks, as well as assignments that are perhaps out of the person’s wheelhouse. 

Older Employees are Fired, Laid Off, or Offered Buyouts

Sometimes companies want to update the work culture with younger, less expensive workers. First they need to make room for the new, fresh employees. Typically, older workers and people that have been with a company for years are the first to be let go.

Your Performance Reviews Suffer at No Fault of Your Own

If you suddenly start receiving bad or unfavorable reviews, especially after a new or younger boss is hired, you could be the victim of ageism in the workplace. Your employment law attorney in San Francisco will ask for your performance review records when building a case.   

You Hear Inappropriate Comments About Your Age

If your boss or coworkers have asked when you’re going to retire or take time off work to enjoy your golden years, it could be a sign that the company wants you out. If you have no plans to stop working, be explicitly clear on the matter and be sure to have a record of the conversation.

What to Do About Ageism in the Workplace

Discrimination Training

Employers should provide mandatory training on diversity and discrimination in the workplace, so people can understand the repercussions of all forms of discrimination, including ageism, and the importance of having diversity in the workplace, which helps everyone work better together.

Be Clear on Policies

Many people may not consider the fact that discriminating against someone based on their age is against the law. Companies should have clear policies on all types of discrimination and make it known that it will not be tolerated.

The Hiring and Interview Process

One way companies can avoid age discrimination is to start immediately in the hiring process. Don’t ask age-related interview questions. Don’t ask applicants to list their date of birth on new hire forms. Avoid looking for strictly fresh out of college aged people and consider hiring those with on the job experience.

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