More and more Americans are working well into retirement age in the 21st century. In fact, in 2019, adults over the age of 65 were twice as likely to be working compared to the number of older workers in 1985. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean the workplace always is accommodating to older workers.
According to the AARP, 64% of older workers report that they have experienced age discrimination in the workplace, or have seen other older workers discriminated against. However, it isn’t always easy to spot age discrimination in the workplace.
Here are five signs of what workplace discrimination might look like:
- Older workers don’t receive learning opportunities, but younger employees automatically do. This can include not receiving training on new software or processes, limiting access for continuing education reimbursement or the inability to attend industry conferences for older workers.
- Older workers don’t receive big raises or promotions. Perhaps, the management team feels older workers won’t be working that much longer and doesn’t want to promote them to new positions or give them a bigger pay boost. If an older worker still has strong performance reviews, they should still be eligible for wage increases and promotions.
- Older workers don’t receive challenging assignments. Or older workers receive tedious, unpleasant assignments more than other employees.
- Older workers are left out of client meetings or company meetings.
- Older workers are subject to disparaging comments about their age. Sometimes, this may seem like teasing about when you will retire or how old and feeble you are. Sometimes, it may be aggressive, with someone badgering you about how soon you will retire so a younger worker can take your place.
If you notice any of these happening to yourself or another older worker, you need to document the incidents. Take detailed notes of what happened and who else witnessed this. At some point, you may want to consult an employment law attorney. The Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA), passed in 1967, protects older workers against discrimination.