Avoiding subtle age discrimination

Older adults in Indiana who are job hunting may encounter subtle age discrimination. While the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers with 20 or more workers from discriminating against workers at or over the age of 40, companies may prefer to hire younger workers for a number of reasons including lower salary requirements. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, more than 60 percent of workers 50 and older have experienced age discrimination on the job.

There are steps older workers can take to help protect against this discrimination. One is to shorten their resumes by cutting out old jobs. They may also want to leave dates of high school and college graduation off the resumes as well. In most cases, including around 10 years of experience is sufficient. An older person with a great deal of experience may want to consider working as a consultant since that is one job in which seniority is desirable.

Some forms of ageism appear in employers' attitudes and expectations. For example, one survey found that employers who excused job hopping among younger employees viewed it more negatively when older employees did the same.

People who believe they have encountered age discrimination in the workplace may want to talk to an attorney. Discrimination may be difficult to prove because employers may try to point to other factors as reasons for failing to hire, promote, or keep an employee. Therefore, documentation can be important in establishing discrimination. One approach might be to show that a younger employee in a similar position was treated more favorably than the older employee. An attorney may be able to review what kind of evidence would be useful in any particular case and help determine how that evidence could be used.

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