The Most Obvious Signs of Ageism in the Workplace

Workplace ageism is still a major challenge in our modern-day corporate setting despite the depth of knowledge possessed by current employers and HR managers on the values of an inclusive work environment. Ageism in the workplace has not just survived discrimination laws but continues to evolve, manifesting in different forms as employers sort for credulous means of ridding aging workers or blocking certain age range from assuming some positions.

The 1967 Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) proscribes all forms of ageism in the workplace, as long as the business has at least 20 employees. However, this regulation has lured many employers into deceitful ways of carrying out ageism in the workplace without the victim noticing any foul play or the usual signs of ageism. What does ageism in the workplace look like?

Here is a list of some of the signs of ageism in the workplace.

Age-based harassment

If your employers continually call you names, makes fun of you or harasses you about your age or issues related to age, there is every possibility that they are trying to force you to quit. Companies feel more comfortable when an employee they are not willing to continue with resigns than firing them, especially if the reason for termination is illegal.

Age-related remarks

It’s a sign of ageism when an employer speaks to you in a humiliating tone because of your age or uses age-related remarks on your work. This could come in the form of comparing your output with another employee with a different age range.

Promotion denial

It’s a sign of ageism in the workplace if you were denied a promotion that later went to a younger colleague who is less qualified. And your case for age discrimination will have more traction if you can show a pattern that younger workers are promoted while the older workers are overlooked without evidence that the promotion was based on merit.

Being left out or isolated

Employers can force older workers to retire by simply withdrawing their workload, removing them from meetings, isolating their work desk from their department, or making important decisions without them. This makes it difficult for them to contribute or remain valuable in their teams. The employers could also ask the old worker to relocate to a different office or state in a bid to cause a major disruption in their lives.

Encouraged or forced to retire

Managers can also resort to talking the old worker into retiring which is a blunt sign of ageism in the workplace. This may come in the form of reminding them of all the retirement packages and trying to know their retirement plans. Many companies are trying to enact a mandatory retirement age, even though it’s still unlawful. Only a limited number of professions permit mandatory retirement age.

Position elimination and layoffs

Layoffs can happen in any company regardless of the size. But you may be having a sign of ageism if the retrenchment is only targeted at older employees. However, companies are smart enough to sample a few younger employees in a move to dilute layoff groups due in order to comply with the legal requirements of layoffs.

Another sign of ageism is when an employer or manager eliminates the position of a worker by simply changing the title. You may have workplace ageism if an employer eliminates your job but still hire a younger employee to act in the same capacity.

Ageism in the workplace, whether subtle or blatant, takes an emotional toll. Learn how to combat ageism in the workplace.

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Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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