How can age discrimination impact older workers?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2023 | Age Discrimination |

There are many personal characteristics that employers should never consider when making decisions about people’s jobs. These protected characteristics include race, religion and sex. There are also federal rules against age discrimination.

Older workers have more experience to offer, and companies should not penalize them for aging. Sadly, workers over the age of 40 sometimes experience direct discrimination or have to endure a hostile work environment where coworkers and managers treat them poorly. Although many people try to ignore or live with age discrimination, it can do real harm to someone’s psyche and their professional aspirations.

Age discrimination may result in career limitations

Age discrimination often manifests in the same way that the so-called glass ceiling does. Older workers will find that they can only advance to a certain point within the company. Despite having years of experience and doing the best work that they can, they may find that their employers consistently deny them the best sales leads, the best hours on the schedule or advancement opportunities.

Companies may terminate older workers

Age discrimination can also manifest in wrongful termination. Businesses may target one individual and end their employment, possibly while hiding behind at-will employment laws as a means of avoiding responsibility. Occasionally, age discrimination will manifest during a downsizing or layoff conducted by the company. The older workers may find themselves disproportionately represented among those let go or laid off when a company makes major changes to its staff.

Older workers may feel uncomfortable on the job

Sometimes, age discrimination involves a company turning a blind eye to harassment of older workers by younger staff members or management. Inappropriate jokes and disparaging comments, as well as attempts to exclude them from work socialization, can make older workers feel uncomfortable at their job and can ultimately negatively impact both their advancement opportunities and their job performance. In some cases, a hostile work environment can prove damaging to an older worker’s mental health.

Keeping a record of management misconduct and co-workers may help those who are enduring age discrimination on the job fight back and either demand appropriate responses from within the company or pursue a lawsuit against the business.