There are numerous protections in place to guarantee workers are treated fairly and have outlets through which to have their complaints about mistreatment heard. Unfortunately, numerous examples of discrimination exist that are more covert than others. In many organizations, ageism can go virtually unnoticed.
Whether age discrimination is unintentional or not, it is an illegal practice both in the workplace and as a hiring strategy. Employees and candidates should be cautious when certain signs of ageism in the workplace are observed, including:
- Opportunities for further education are extended to younger employees rather than older ones. These opportunities can include online coursework for organizational changes, reimbursement for continuing education or attendance at industry conferences.
- Challenging or tech-heavy assignments are given to younger employees rather than older ones.
- Involvement in client meetings, company activities, training sessions and strategy conferences is offered to younger employees rather than older ones.
- Playful comments made regarding retirement plans, use of technology, health or fitness, or veteran status in the organization are all overt examples of supervisors and co-workers using someone’s age against them. Even made in jest, these types of jokes and comments can serve to alienate a worker, often coloring a manager’s perception of him or her.
- When an older worker is passed over for raises and promotions based on factors other than his or her performance, it might be a clear case of discrimination.
Many employees hesitate to complain about mistreatment due to fear of retaliation. Retaliation can include termination, transfer, loss of hours and demotion. It is crucial to remember that numerous laws and regulations are in place to protect workers. Do not hesitate to seek legal guidance for insight into your unique situation.