According to a survey from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), nearly three out of five older workers have either witnessed or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination is illegal, however, this issue is still very prevalent today and has harmful effects on an individual. When an employee is treated unfairly because of their age, it can hinder both their emotional and financial well-being.
According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discrimination is when an employee receives unfair treatment, harassment, denial of a reasonable workplace change, improper request of information disclosure, and retaliation because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information. Discrimination in the workplace is illegal and can lead to severe consequences.
Age discrimination in the workplace is fairly prevalent. According to the AARP study, 76 percent of the participants believed that their age was a hurdle when they looked for a new job. Similarly, many of them believed that their age often forced them out of their current jobs or that they earned less than normal pay. This is especially true for older employees.
Common examples of age discrimination include:
- Getting terminated in a position because of one’s age.
- Not getting hired for a position because the employer is looking for a younger worker.
- Getting turned down for a promotion because of one’s age.
- Getting turned down for a big project or job advancement opportunity because of age stereotypes.
- Getting physically or verbally harassed because of one’s age.
Why is Age Discrimination so Prevalent?
Age discrimination is prevalent in the workplace because of age biases and stereotypes. A bias is when someone holds a prejudice to a certain demographic. A stereotype is a frequent, oversimplified conception about a certain demographic. Many people hold both biases and stereotypes against older individuals that can affect how they perceive their abilities. This can impact their opportunities, including bigger projects or even job promotions.
Many of these stereotypes have to do with an older person’s abilities and salary requirements. Many employers try to avoid hiring older individuals for a position because they expect that they will need a higher salary to afford their various adult responsibilities, including children, a house, or other obligations. Many employers also believe that older individuals might not do well in a position that is tech-related or requires some knowledge of social media platforms. These harmful stereotypes mean that these job fields are frequently filled with younger employees.
Some technology is also aiding in ageism during the hiring process. In fact, an AARP article states that there are job screening algorithms that will automatically reject a potential employee because of their age. Between 1997 and 2018, there were 423,000 complaints about age discrimination that were filed to the EEOC. Despite these high numbers, age discrimination is still frequently unreported. This is for a number of reasons, including the EEOC being overrun with cases or employees fearing retaliation.
What is Harmful About Age Discrimination in the Workplace?
Age discrimination is harmful in the workplace because it can influence the amount and nature of the opportunities given to older employees. This can ultimately impact the amount of money they make and their overall well-being at their job.
Many older employees facing age discrimination may face a number of mental illnesses as a result of their unfair treatment. This can force individuals to seek medical services to help treat these issues, which is often both a financial and emotional burden for a victim. To receive fair compensation for their losses, a victim must take the necessary steps to hold their employer or coworkers accountable.
What Should I Do If I am a Victim of Workplace Age Discrimination?
Age discrimination is widespread, however, it is often difficult to prove that an employee’s unfair treatment at work is a result of discrimination. To do so, a victim may need a lawyer to help advocate on their behalf. A lawyer can help a victim prove age discrimination in the workplace by doing their own investigation, gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, and presenting the narrative in the event that the case goes to court. All of these qualities can help a victim prevail in their case and get a fair settlement offer for the losses that resulted.
What Should I Do Before I Take Legal Action?
Before taking legal action, a victim should attempt to present their concerns to their Human Resources (HR) manager. This is important for a number of reasons, including the fact that HR person has the opportunity to help remedy the problem.
Even if they do not remedy the problem, the employee’s complaint will be recorded. It is crucial that these events are recorded to help narrate the timeline of the employee’s experiences. Many employers fail to take responsibility for their role in the discrimination. In this case, the victim should take legal action.
What is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act?
All employees who are 40 years old and older are protected under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Therefore, those who are discriminated against because of their age are entitled to take legal action against their employer.
To do so, the victim should first contact a lawyer. A lawyer can help with collecting evidence, finding witnesses, and counseling the victim. Once the victim and their lawyer have collected enough evidence, they should file a claim with the EEOC. This is a mandatory step before filing a lawsuit against the employer. Some states require that the victim first files a complaint with a state agency before a lawsuit.
When Does a Discrimination Case Go to Trial?
The EEOC will complete their own investigation of the age discrimination. After 60 days of filing a complaint with the EEOC, the victim is entitled to file a lawsuit against their employer. It is important that the victim and their lawyer discuss what damages they are seeking to settle the lawsuit.
The lawyer and their client will then go through the discovery process where they gather important evidence to help back up the victim’s discrimination claim. However, the victim will have an opportunity to have a mediation meeting with their employer to discuss ways to settle the case outside of court. This is offered by the EEOC.
If the mediation is not successful, the victim can take the case to trial. The lawyer will help prepare the victim for trial to ensure the best possible results. The trial may take weeks or even months, but it should lead to a settlement. If the victim does not prevail in their case, they should discuss with their lawyer if they have grounds to file an appeal.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate For Victims of Workplace Age Discrimination
If you are the victim of age discrimination in the workplace, you need to contact a Cherry Hill employment lawyer at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Age discrimination takes away important job advancement opportunities for older individuals and can also lead to unfair employment termination. Our lawyers understand how this can affect an employee’s financial and emotional well-being. If you are interested in speaking to a lawyer to discuss your legal options, contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 for a free consultation. We have an office located in Pennsauken, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.