There are many different types of discrimination in the workplace, including age discrimination. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, two of three workers between the ages of 45 and 74 in the American workforce have reported having either witnessed or experienced age discrimination. Additionally, people over 35 years old who are looking for a job have reported that it is the number one obstacle in the way of their finding work.
In certain industries those statistics are even higher, such as in technology and entertainment. Age discrimination has been recognized as a serious issue for a long time, which is why the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) was passed. ADEA makes it illegal to discriminate against employees who are 40 years old or more. However, because the law often seems open to interpretation, age discrimination is still occurring in the workplace in many instances.
What do I need to know about age discrimination?
- Age discrimination is always considered illegal: There is never a situation in which age discrimination is legal. That includes during the hiring process, promotions, salary increases and layoffs. Harassment because of age is also illegal. These laws apply to businesses with at least 20 employees. Mandatory retirement (in most cases) is also illegal.
- It is legal for a prospective employer to ask your age and your graduation date: This often makes the person who is being asked those questions uncomfortable and work is being done to add more protection against this; however, this is the law as it stands right now. Even if you remove that information from your resume and/or your LinkedIn profile but you may still be asked about your age. Interestingly, in California, there are laws that prevent employers from bringing up questions about age.
- The most common type of age discrimination is not getting hired: According to AARP, 19% of people surveyed said that they experienced not getting hired because of their age. Additionally, 12% felt that they were not promoted because of age and 8% felt that they were laid off or fired because of age.
- Employees over 50 are among the most engaged in the workforce: The AARP survey says that 65% of employees of 55 and over are engaged at work compared with 58 to 60% of younger employees. There is also less turnover with people of that age than with younger employees.
Solid legal advice from an age discrimination attorney
If you have been a victim of age discrimination in the workplace, the benefit of a California age discrimination attorney may really help your case. The attorney can help you to navigate the process successfully and can help you to protect your rights at the same time. Although age discrimination is illegal, you may still find yourself struggling to find the work that you want because of your age. The attorney may be able to help you with that.