Identifying ageism in the workplace

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2021 | Age Discrimination |

If you are an Indiana employee over the age of 40, you may have valuable experience that can help your company’s interests. However, organizations often prefer inexperienced, younger employees, and take steps that remove older workers from their jobs.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, federal law prohibits age discrimination in employment.

What is ageism?

Congress passed the Age Discrimination Employment Act in 1967. Since then, age is a protected characteristic in companies with 20 or more employees. This means that your employer cannot discriminate in any portion of your employment based on age and encompasses promotions, work assignments, hiring and firing. Companies that discriminate frequently use creative excuses or couch it in inventive rationalizations.

What are the signs of ageism?

Employers often make assumptions that older employees cannot adapt, are less innovative and have fewer qualifications than their younger colleagues. As a result of these stereotypes, you can lose out on jobs, raises and promotions. Ageism may show up in several ways in the workplace.

  • Reassignment of duties – You stop getting projects that challenge you or lack complexity in favor of those that no one wants.
  • Only young employees are being hired – Employers often fire, lay-off or buyout only older employees. They may use the term “culture fit,” which is often code for hiring younger, less expensive workers.
  • Remarks about your age – Ranging from subtle to aggressive, managers and co-workers may jokingly comment about slower typing speeds, retirement plans and make age-related jokes. More pointed statements may include asking when you are retiring so a younger person can have your position.

Companies may also stop giving raises and give poor performance reviews to encourage older employees to leave. Learn more about job loss due to ageism here.


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