Our age should be nothing but a number. However, for some, getting older means being the target of ageist comments and jokes in the workplace. It could also mean that employers view them as unemployable. Although there are federal, state, and local laws in place to protect individuals from age discrimination, it continues to be a problem today.
Ageism in the workplace
Age discrimination, often known as ageism, is when a person is stigmatized due to their age. Ageism usually targets individuals over 45, but age discrimination affects younger people too.
However, older people are the ones who suffer the most from ageism. Despite their wealth of work experience, senior workers are frequently regarded as irrelevant.
Some senior workers have no choice but to accept being the subject of ageist jokes, losing promotions and being automatically disqualified from job applications. It is common to see older individuals feeling pressured to change their appearance or revise their resumes to present themselves as younger candidates.
Fighting bias and stereotypes
Media portrayals of older people can be more likely to show them as technologically illiterate or helpless than as successful professionals. Sad to say, years of these media portrayals have contributed to widespread prejudice and stereotypes against older individuals. This has become so common that some people may not even realize that they are discriminating against another individual.
The first step in combating these biases is for employees to acknowledge that they exist. The next step is to commit to not participate in or tolerate workplace discrimination of any kind.
When the offender holds a position of authority, it is understandably more challenging to deal with the discrimination. Nonetheless, reporting any instances of discriminatory, harassing or abusive behavior to the proper authorities may help put a stop to it. If not, those subject to age discrimination have the option of taking legal action.