Ageism or age discrimination is an unfavourable treatment at work of an employee or worker based on the class or category of the person, like employees over age 40. Age discrimination has nothing to do with the individual merit of the person- how much intellectual the person may be. Though the new workplace is filled with a new group of employers, HR professionals and employees who are pretty well acquainted and well educated enough about the inclusive work environment, ageism still exists.
What Exactly Does Ageism Look Like?
A 28 years old female editor might be commented that she is ‘too young’ to be an editor, an employee in 50s may be told that the organization is looking for a more enthusiastic and full of an energy college graduate and many more. Though ageism exists in both age groups, studies have shown that it hits more on the people on the older scale. Ageism is unlawful, be it in any phase of employment as a job interview, hiring processes, salaries, job postings, employee evaluation, benefits and layoffs among the many.
Some of the examples of ageism are:
- Learning opportunities offered to the young crew and not older employees. The learning facilities may include an educational workbook, professional training courses of the company.
- Overlooked for challenging tasks. Challenging tasks may be assigned to the young and energetic fold while tedious ones to the older ones.
- Not giving an opportunity in client meetings and organization activities.
- Discriminatory comments about age, even the ones passed on a subtle or playful sense.
- Overlooked for promotions. Promotions are given to the younger and emerging group, while the older ones are sidelined.
In India, age discrimination exists in each workplace. Their counterparts in the US, however, are protected by law against ageism at the workplace. The ADEA or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 1967 protects employees of over 40 years against ageism. The legislation would soon be passed which would impose centralized age-discrimination policies in workplaces. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) was earlier introduced by legislators in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This Act would reverse an earlier US Supreme Court ruling of 2009 which made older workers challenging to prove and testify their ageism situations.
The ruling stated that older workers need to show their age to prove ageism cases. This was an utmost decisive factor in the decision making of an employer to fire or not hire them for work. The law and court standards required for age discrimination fall as a much higher in comparison to other discriminatory forms, like cases based on race, sex, nationality or religion. The POWADA rules that victims of ageism or age discrimination need not highlight age as a critical reason for their employer’s discriminatory action to prove their case. In the US, a higher count of older workers has been the victims of unfair ageism and age discrimination at work and also has been denied justice in their cases.
How to prevent ageism?
One shouldn’t assume their workplace to be 100% immune to ageism. Every workplace has employees making ageism comments, though even in a subtle way. If a person sees ageism comments made at another employee, he/she should never assume that it won’t hit them.
- Look for continuous growth in the workplace. Stay up to date with the latest work standards and information about technology and the line of work.
- Fight the stereotype. If you’re on the older side, you must learn to stay up to date with the newer trends. Age can never be an excuse not to learn.
- Show professionalism. Younger employees have a high level of enthusiasm and professionalism at anything they do. If the older employee is in an established position, the person must highlight the same passion for inspiring the younger folk.