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What does ageism at work look like?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2023 | Employment Law

Thanks to years of campaigns and significant legislation, you may understandably believe that ageism at work is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, although the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was specifically created to protect employees, and potential employees, from age-related discrimination in the workplace, age discrimination remains a serious concern.

Basically, age discrimination (or ageism) happens when an employee or a potential employee is treated unfairly at work based on their age. While age discrimination can happen to anyone (both younger and older employees), it is unlawful at the federal level when it affects individuals who are age 40 and older.

Warning signs of ageism during hiring and employment

Age discrimination can happen long before someone joins an organization. For instance, if a potential employer advertises that they are looking for workers within a certain age group, this could be indicative of age discrimination. Use of age-bias words like digital native, fresh, high-potential, active or energetic may also amount to age discrimination if the company isn’t actively hiring workers of all ages.

Here are some of the interview questions that can amount to ageism during a recruitment exercise:

  • When do you expect to retire from employment?
  • Are you comfortable working with younger team members?
  • Can you keep up with the organization’s high energy levels?
  • Are you suffering from any chronic or age-related conditions?

Age discrimination on the job is probably the easiest to notice. For instance, if your employer or supervisor is making unpleasant jokes about your age, this could be a sign of ageism. Others may include the following:

  • Being bypassed for promotions or training opportunities
  • Being bypassed for certain roles on the grounds that you are too old to perform them

For most people, age is just a number. However, if your employer or potential employer is discriminating against you based on your age, you deserve justice. Learning more about Colorado and federal labor laws can help you safeguard your rights and interests if you are being discriminated against based on your age.