As the first batch of millennial workers approaches 40, they may soon be in for a surprise when they are no longer the young, cutting-edge employees at work. Discrimination based on a person’s age has been illegal for some time, just as has discrimination based on a person’s gender, race or other factors. However, the fact that age discrimination is illegal does not unfortunately prevent it from happening.
AARP study highlights ongoing problem
In a 2018 study, AARP found that more than half of workers in their mid-40s or older had felt compelled to accept an early retirement package or been otherwise forced out of a job prematurely. To make matters worse, nine out 10 of these workers failed to ever regain their former earning potential. Three out of four people in this age group indicated that they have experienced comments or jokes that made negative reference to their age.
Discrimination baked into unconscious bias
According to a report by Forbes, not all age discrimination may be conscious, but that does not negate its reality nor the damage it can do. For example, a recruiter may ask a person when they graduated from college. While this may seem like an innocent question and does not overtly require a person to provide their age, it essentially does just that.
Discrimination from recruitment through termination
From the recruiting process through to the time when an employee separates from a company, discrimination based on age may be present. When in a job, older workers may not be given the same access to training or advancement opportunities as their younger counterparts, for example.