Employers may blame the recent global health crisis, the sluggish economy or numerous other factors. However, if you have lost your job and have spent the better part of the past year looking for work, you may start to suspect there is another factor at work, especially if you are over the age of 40. The truth is that many employers still harbor biases against older workers based on myths and stereotypes of mature workers as out-of-touch, unsavvy or unhealthy.
The good news for you is that unfair treatment based on your age is a violation of your rights and is against the law. Therefore, you may have legal recourse for holding your employer or potential employer accountable for any discriminatory actions against you.
You are more than your age
Nearly half of all those actively searching for work for more than six months are over the age of 55. It is even worse for Black and Latino workers in that age bracket. While those over 50 make up more than 30% of the workforce, 78% of then say they have been victims of age discrimination of some kind either on the job or during the hiring process. You may also be a victim of age discrimination if an employer does any of the following:
- Excludes you from applying for certain jobs by using age-targeted recruiting campaigns
- Rejects you for a position for which you are well qualified in favor of a younger, less-qualified applicant
- Refuses to promote or advance you because of your age
- Fires you or lays you off but continues to hire younger workers
You may also experience age discrimination if you employer assumes you are not abreast of the most current technology or industry trends. You may hear remarks or jokes on the job about your age that may seem funny or harmless, but you should never feel that you must tolerate such ageism. These comments often reflect an underlying attitude, which could translate into mistreatment and discrimination.
What can I do about it?
Many older workers are defeating the tired stereotypes of older people by continuing to learn new skills and remain competitive in their fields. Additionally, it is important that you take care of yourself so you can function with a high level of energy.
Nevertheless, some employers may still treat you poorly simply because of your age. If you feel you have been a victim of age discrimination, you would be wise to act quickly. You have a limited time to take legal action after an employer violates your rights.