According to AARP research, age discrimination is widespread and assumed to be an acceptable form of bias. However, most employers adhere to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) guidelines, understanding that the ADEA’s goal is to protect employees who are 40 or older from age discrimination at work.
Generally speaking, companies are not allowed to take actions such as hiring or promoting an employee based solely or primarily on that person’s age.
Acknowledging the Vital Roles Older Employees can Play
Businesses see the value of older workers playing a vital role in the workplace. Their experience makes them ideal leaders and mentors for younger workers. Conversely, their more youthful colleagues can help them learn new skills.
While older workers may not have experience with social media or other modern technology, they have other skills that make them valuable to organizations. They possess a different communication skill set, not to mention more critical thinking. They may also bring a different perspective to tech companies and others that may be staffed mostly by younger individuals.
Some employers do not see the value of older workers and could find themselves violating the very policies they created to reduce discrimination or harassment based on age. They either ignore or condone the subtle signs of discrimination, such as exclusion from team projects over assumptions that they would not be able to “handle it.”
Whether accused of “gently nudging out” or outright terminating an older worker, organizations facing discrimination claims against older workers can also face allegations of violating state employment laws. An employment law defense attorney may be able to review a case to determine the claim’s validity.