It may seem that we’re living in a more progressive world and discrimination of any kind in the workplace isn’t as prevalent, but that would be wrong. Discrimination is still very much at play in companies, and age discrimination is no different.
You’d think when you reach a certain age, and you’ve worked hard and have plenty of experience and knowledge, you’d be an asset to your company. But more and more older employees are being replaced with younger ones and even computers. Age discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee less favorably because of his or her age and is against the law. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.
According to AARP, Age discrimination in the workplace persists as a serious and pervasive problem.
Age Discrimination Danger Signs
How do you know if you’re being discriminated against? Here are a few signs:
- Younger employees are offered promotions, educational resources, or special perks over older employees.
- You have been overlooked for a particular assignment or project, or you’ve been assigned unpleasant or tedious tasks over and over while others are getting the best projects.
- You are left out of important client or employee meetings or company activities.
- Employees, including managers, have made jokes about your age or maturity, asked about your retirement plans, or made pointed comments about your age or abilities.
- You’ve been passed over for raises and promotions that you’ve rightly earned.
- You’re not entitled to as much time off as younger employees because you don’t have kids at home.
How To Fight Age Discrimination
If you’ve experienced any of these things, age discrimination may be at play in your workplace. Here are a few things you can do to fight it:
Don’t Assume Fairness
Don’t assume your workplace is always fair and that there are other factors at play for you being overlooked. Look deeper, even if the comments or actions are directed at another employee. Try to see the situation from a neutral perspective or talk to someone outside your company who can be impartial and honest about what’s happening.
Push yourself to do better.
Read, take courses, stay up-to-date on trends in the marketplace, and find a mentor to inspire you. Don’t give your employer any reason to pass you over. If you work hard, have the experience and knowledge to handle something, there should be no question about your ability.
Don’t give them ammunition.
Don’t make jokes about your age, and don’t coast through your job without learning anything new or being willing to advance yourself. If you do this, you encourage age discrimination within your company; you feed their beliefs about older workers. A company doesn’t owe you anything for your years of service. You have to earn your promotions and raises on your merits.
Maintain professionalism at all times. Present yourself as polished, confident, and knowledgeable to your supervisors and your clients. Always put your best foot forward when representing your company.
Keep track of any possible age discriminating actions by keeping notes. If you ever have to take your problem to HR, you’ll need detailed notes of dates, people involved, and the situation.
Stay active and relevant in your industry and workplace so they won’t have any reason to discriminate against you. Dealing with age discrimination can be a challenge, but you can fight back and get what you deserve.
Do You Need Help?
If you need help updating your resume, practicing for an interview, or organizing your job search information during these challenging times, consider reaching out to Rachel Schneider, CPC at Career Find to assist you.