Two out of every three workers ages 45 to 74 report experiencing some form of age discrimination in the workplace. There are common misconceptions that older workers are uneducated, less healthy, less skillful, or less productive than their younger peers. Not only are these misconceptions largely untrue – they are also damaging to the individuals and the businesses involved.
Age discrimination, or ageism, is a form of discrimination that is prohibited by law. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), ageism is illegal at any point in the employment process. Let’s take a look at ageism and what the law says.
5 Facts about Ageism in the Workplace
Check out these 5 facts about ageism in the workplace:
- In 2009, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling established that plaintiffs must meet a higher burden of proof for ageism as compared to other types of discrimination.
- 8 out of 10 Americans 50 and older want Congress to strengthen laws preventing ageism in the workplace.
- A common misconception is that ageism begins when workers turn 50. Research shows, however, that ageism most commonly occurs between the ages of 45 and 74.
- There is a gender difference in perception of ageism. Around 72 percent of women 45 to 74 report experiencing ageism. Only 52 percent of men between 45 and 74 report experiencing ageism.
- The most common type of ageism reported is not getting hired. About 19 percent of AARP survey respondents report not getting hired due to ageism. Another 12 percent report being skipped for a promotion, and 8 percent report being laid off or fired.
The most important thing you should know about ageism is that you can take action if you have been discriminated against. Talk to an attorney about your legal rights, filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or filing a lawsuit.