Ageism in the workplace is not always carried out by employers. Coworkers or employees are also guilty of workplace ageism, usually in the form of comments or attitude, but this is more frequent in offices with zero or little recognition for age discrimination. Hence, employers are fully responsible for all forms of ageism at work. And most ageism in the workplace comes from employers in pursuit of optimum productivity. At least two among three employed baby boomers in the U.S. have experienced workplace ageism if not currently.
Workplace ageism may be very subtle and uneasy to recognize. Honestly, most employers (mostly small entrepreneurs) think they are on legal wings with some of their managerial strategies without knowing that some cases against them would pull through with ease. Yes, because just a few of the victims are willing to open a case with EEOC.
While we may consider ageism at work as minor, a report from the EEOC revealed that age discrimination has a one-fifth share of all discrimination cases received by the commission in 2016. Ageism in the workplace may be associated with employee hiring, layoff, benefits, job responsibilities, pay, training, firing, promotions or more.
On a mild depth and quick recognition, we have listed three (3) common signs of ageism at work below.
1) Only young workers get hired and promote
There's a red flag when an employer is more interested in hiring younger workers over the older one. Also, the same condition applies when younger employees with less experience are easily promoted over the older workers with more experience. In the case of hiring, applicants rarely know why they were not hired; this makes the hiring discrimination very subtle. A few of the older applicants usually get to question why they were not hired despite their huge experience and perhaps performance during interviews (if they were not screened out instantly). Though it happens, there are few cases where rejected applicants felt discriminated and contacted EEOC for proper investigation and resolution of their doubts.
2) Skewed job training and reassignment of duties
When an employer is always working hard to train only the young workers in view of how much they would contribute to the company in the future against older workers, are discriminating the older employees that have no access to job training. Also, ageism at work is also the case when older employees are reassigned to take up different job responsibilities even with their wealth of experience and not because they were unable to handle their duties. Employers that resolved to have younger workers take up the role of an older work just for a perceived notion they would perform better is discriminating.
3) Age bias salary structure and firing
There is ageism in the workplace when an older employee is paid a lower salary or not given full work benefits compare to a colleague who is younger but with the same experience or less. Also, when older employees are not included in pay rise plans, there's age discrimination. When an office begins to fire our layoff their old staff to recruit younger employees, there is a sign of ageism at work.
Ageism in the workplace, whether subtle or blatant, takes an emotional toll. Learn how to combat ageism in the workplace.