Most developed nations of the world have legislation in relation to age discrimination. Sadly it does not prevent it still from being common and widespread.
Some references to the legislative frameworks for English-speaking countries’, and the EEC are linked for you here:
The nuances will differ depending on the country that you live in and the legislative framework in place and I recommend that where you have specific concerns that you look at the links above and take legal advice from you your own solicitor or attorney. Most of what I will talk about here refers to the US ADEA so please check the situation in your own jurisdiction.
Things to Consider
The exact rules, and how they are interpreted, aren’t always so clear to those who may be seeking employment. Here are just 8 of the most significant things you may need to consider about age discrimination, should you face it in any form.
1. General Conditions
Age discrimination, in the majority, if not all the jurisdictions above, is illegal, at all stages of employment. This includes hiring, promotion, pay and dismissal or releases. Most countries’ discrimination legislation will also have provision to deal with age harassment in the workplace, whether directed from coworkers, supervisors or customers. The US ADEA applies specifically to employers that have a minimum of twenty staff employees. There are some US states that have stronger legislative protections in this area. Mandatory retirement ages, are all but gone these days with a few understandable exemptions. These, as you might expect, include airline pilots and public safety employees.
2. Declaration of Age
In the US It is legal currently for an employer or prospective employer to ask for your age and or, your graduation date. There is work underway currently by AARP to increase the protections towards preventing this line of inquiry for the future. You can of course opt to remove this particular information from the likes of your LinkedIn profile, or you may attempt to avoid the question in a job interview. However, as it stands at the moment, there is no legal reasons that prevents prospective employers from posing the question.
3. An Uneven Playing Field
In 2009 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in such a way that makes it significantly more difficult for older workers, subject to proven age discrimination to be successful in a court of law. The court ruled that plaintiffs must attain a higher burden of proof in relation to age discrimination compared with other discrimination classes. In effect, the Supreme Court acted to establish law that took age discrimination backwards, with the resulting message to employers that some proven discrimination is legally tolerated.
4. Perception and Attitudes
AARP research has shown that 80% of US citizens fifty and older have expressed a wish to have Congress establish much stronger legislation designed to stamp out age discrimination in the workplace. The same research indicated that workers between the ages of 45 and 74 generally believe that discrimination kicks in when employees are reaching their early 50s. Though, 22% of the sample population thought that it begins even earlier, indicating they thought that it started even in the 30s and 40s. In balance 17% said that they believed that it begins in one’s 60s. There is, perhaps surprisingly, a gender difference to the perception of age discrimination. 72% of Female employees aged between 45 and 74 indicated that they felt that employees face age discrimination, in the workplace, while only 57% of their male counterparts from that same age group felt the same.
5. Types of Age Discrimination
AARP surveys show that not being hired appears to be most common as the prevalent cited type of age discrimination experienced. This accounted for 19% of replies from those surveyed, while 12% cited not being selected for promotion because of age, and 8% were let go or sacked.
6. Your Avenues
You can of course take actioning you choose to fight discrimination in the workplace. If you think you have a case for discrimination against an employer in the US you can file your case with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You Might also choose to work with an attorney in filing a lawsuit. But before initiating these actions, You should think about invoking your consider company’s grievance process, this is assuming that it has one. Filing a lawsuit can be very expensive indeed and of course there is no guarantee that you will prevail, particularly with the Supreme Court ruling cited above. Be sure to keep a meticulous record of all the alleged discrimination events and issue to bring to bear in your case should you decide that is the route that you wish to and a can afford to follow.
7. The Case Statistics
Last year, the EEOC received 20,857 charges of age discrimination. Age discrimination makes up more than 1 in 5 of the discrimination charges received by the EEOC.
8. Stereotype Proven Bogus
AARP have blown holes in the typical older worker stereotype. They have shown that those aged 50 and older remain amongst the most engaged employees in the workplace nationwide. Some 65% of workers aged 55 and above “were engaged,” as compared to 58 to 60% of those younger than this group. The evidence also clearly indicates that this older employee group are offering employers considerably lower churn rates and significantly higher levels of expertise and experience.
Things to Consider
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