While the worst of the pandemic may be over, it still continues to shake up the workplace. A new AARP survey revealed older workers who lost jobs during the pandemic are struggling to get re-hired, and it may be because of age discrimination.
The AARP said professionals ages 50 through 70 have experience, expertise, maturity and perspective. Yet, negative stereotypes placed upon them mean older workers are often treated unfairly.
“Age discrimination, just like other forms of discrimination is wrong but it is sadly all to prevalent,” said Bill Rivera, senior vice president of litigation with AARP.
Research shows 62% of workers age 50 plus reported having seen or experienced age discrimination personally in the workplace. 15% said they were not hired for a job the applied for within the past two years because of their age
“With respect to the hiring process right up front, sometimes employers will ask you for age or date of birth right at the beginning,” Rivera said.
Also, look out for job ads that may give you signals about the “type of people” they're looking for.
“They might use terms like ‘we're interested in ‘digital natives’ or ‘energetic people’ for a ‘youthful company’,” Rivera said.
Pay attention to the possible signs of discrimination at work too, like younger or less experienced people getting promotions repeatedly, or even more direct verbal discrimination.
“You also might find you have a work environment that tolerates ageist comments about people not able to learn technology because they are of a certain generation or age,” he said.
Legal experts say this type of behavior can be illegal, thanks to the Age Discrimination In Employment Act. It states the law prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
“Look at the chain of command or official HR process for these kinds of complaints, and ultimately if that doesn't help then you might want to talk to a lawyer and see what your options are,” Rivera said.
The AARP said before seeking legal action against age discrimination, speak directly to your supervisors about it.
For more tools and resources for how to fight age discrimination in the workplace, click here.