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Ageism In The Workplace: Top 8 Age Discrimination Examples You Need To Look Out For

Ageism in the workplace is quite common than you would expect. The main reason behind it is the stereotyped thinking of people in senior positions at different companies.

In the US, more than 23.4% of people above the age of 45 experience age discrimination. The rate has been rising with time due to the preference of companies for hiring young people.

If you want to learn more about age discrimination examples, we’re here to help you. Let’s look at all the information you need on ageism in the workplace.

What Is Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination refers to people suffering from injustice at their workplace due to their age.

For example, a company may refuse to promote an employee if they’re an older adult. Instead, they may offer the same promotion to a younger worker due to bias.

Typically, age discrimination is common in the group of people over the age of 45. Sometimes this type of bias may be combined with gender discrimination.

For instance, 72% of women above 45 believe age discrimination is common in their group. Meanwhile, the same belief for men above 45 only includes 57% of people.

What Is The Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA)?

An infographic on ADEA protection of employees from ageism in the workplace

The ADEA was passed in 1967 in the US to protect employees from:

  • Ageism in the workplace
  • Harassment due to age
  • Denial of work benefits
  • Exclusion from meetings

This act was a positive step to protect the rights of workers, especially in industries with high labor needs. However, that does not mean you will not see examples of age discrimination today.

The ADEA has been successful to some extent, but companies in the US still engage in age discrimination discretely.

Top 8 Age Discrimination Examples In The Workplace

A circular diagram explaining age discrimination examples

Let’s look at some age discrimination examples in the workplace to help you grasp this act better:

1.   A Pattern Of Only Hiring Young Employees 

One of the top age discrimination examples involves a pattern of hiring young employees. A company may advertise in their hiring posts that they’re looking for people in a specific age group.

Some companies may not publicize that they are searching for younger employees. However, they may discretely separate older applicants from younger ones when making a hiring decision.

You can understand the pattern by seeing the number of workers at your office. It may be noticeable that most of the new employees at your workplace are young adults.

If you belong to the older adult category, you may also notice age discrimination signs easily. For example, your company may be consistently promoting less qualified younger employees over you.

Most companies believe that young employees can perform better and bring a fresh perspective to their company. That is because younger adults belong to the current generation and understand new trends better.

Due to such beliefs, ageism in the workplace is becoming more common than ever. Older adults may not be from the current generation, but they do have enough experience to help their companies enjoy better profitability.

This is why there is a need for balance when workplaces hire new workers.

Example Of Hiring Young Employees

One of the age discrimination examples under the hiring bias category involves Lily USA. The pharmaceutical company intentionally didn’t hire older employees due to their age as per the EEOC.

The company was found guilty of violating the Federal Law because of ignorance of the ADEA.

2.   Hearing Negative Comments Or Insults Related To Age 

Age discrimination examples involve different subcategories because companies use various excuses to engage in this activity. You may also wonder what are the signs of age discrimination.

A prime example of this is hearing negative comments at your workplace. For example, many workers may call older employees backward or senile. Your boss may also refer to you as naïve when discussing the latest industrial trends.

You may also raise issues on subjects that younger employees may avoid talking about. In such cases, your company manager may pass negative comments against you.

If you notice people insulting older adults in your workplace frequently, you can understand that they’re age discrimination examples. Most of these comments are passed intentionally to hurt the person.

Even if the insult is not intentional, it can still be under age discrimination due to ageist views. So start observing the behavior of your colleagues and senior managers more often.

It will help you understand how common ageism in the workplace is at your company. You may hire a workplace discrimination lawyer if you’re suffering from age discrimination through negative comments at your office.

Example Of Age-Related Insults Or Comments

There are many age discrimination examples of insults and negative comments. For example, company workers may use phrases such as asset-rich boomers for older employees.

Job advertisements that state older workers cannot apply also come under the age discrimination examples of negative comments.

3.   Decreased Training Opportunities

Some age discrimination examples are more easily noticeable than others. For example, a workplace may offer fewer training opportunities to their older workforce than younger employees.

As per PIAAC data, only 24% of adults in the age group of 55-65 participate in training sessions at workplaces. The shocking thing is that the rate is not low because older employees don’t want to train.

Instead, these workers don’t get a chance to enter training programs due to their age. For instance, more than 41% above the age of 45 in an AARP survey said they have not been in a training program for the last five years, but they do want the opportunity.

This shows that older adults are interested in learning more about things in their industry. They also want to expand their skills to perform better. However, they don’t receive opportunities to train as frequently as their younger colleagues do.

Even your workplace may be discriminating against you by not offering you chances to train. If that’s the case, you can be completely sure of ageism in the workplace. Hiring a lawyer in such situations may help you fight against age discrimination.

Example Of Reduced Training Opportunities

One of the top age discrimination examples of low training opportunities for older workers has been given by Victoria Tomlinson. The founder of Next-Up led a study about companies investing in improving the skills of their employees above age 50 in the IT sector.

The results of the study made the revelation that 87% of the companies were against such investment. This shows that older workers do suffer from a lack of training chances.

4.   Unequal Pay

People believe age discrimination examples only include low training opportunities and hiring bias. However, that is not true. This discrimination has many other forms.

For instance, a company may engage in pay disparity for different employees. They may be paying their younger employees a lesser salary than older workers in senior positions.

Many companies prevent workers from disclosing their salaries to their colleagues. One of the main reasons to do this is to prevent employees from becoming aware of discrimination within the company.

Remember age discrimination does not mean that only older employees suffer. Younger workers also face this injustice in different situations. Regardless of their qualifications, they are usually underpaid in the industry.

That is because most companies determine the salaries of their workers based on seniority instead of performance. An older colleague may receive a greater starting salary despite their lack of experience.

Example Of Age-Related Unequal Pay

An example of unequal pay involves the firing of a young worker in Northern Ireland. The company decided to avoid increasing the pay of the employee to the national minimum salary rate upon reaching a specific age.

5.   Encouraging Or Forcing Retirement

Age discrimination examples also include retirement cases at different companies. Your workplace may counsel you to take early retirement to benefit from packages such as high savings rates by the company.

They may also offer other incentives to encourage older adults to retire early. The main purpose of such companies is to decrease the number of older employees in their company discretely.

When people retire on their own, companies can avoid charges of discrimination easily. Of course, purposely offering benefits to encourage retirement is a form of discrete age discrimination.

Some workplaces also don’t bother hiding from the law by engaging in discrimination quietly. For example, many companies force their older workers to retire.

They may act if they don’t fear the legal consequences of forceful retirement. So you may not want to file a case against the company if they force you to retire.

Remember companies may present themselves to be powerful around you. However, no one is above the law. If a senior manager forces you to retire early, you can file an age discrimination case against them.

A workplace discrimination lawyer will help you present your complaint in court for justice.

Example Of Forcing Retirement

One of the age discrimination examples of forceful retirement includes a lawsuit against The Scripps Medical Group. The company had a policy of retirement at age 75 regardless of the physician’s choice.

Many physicians filed a case against the San Diego company and won a settlement of $7 million.

6.   Denying Certain Benefits Because Of Age

Some people benefit due to age discrimination because their company may favor their age group. Simultaneously, another age group in the same workplace may suffer disadvantages.

Many workplaces deny specific benefits due to age. For instance, the retirement savings rate for older employees may decrease with increasing age. The main purpose of reducing the rate is to ensure workers retire early without the company forcing them to.

Young workers may also suffer from denial of benefits such as not receiving access to savings accounts until they reach a specific age. Some companies also engage in age discrimination by not offering healthcare insurance access to people of specific age groups.

There may also be different policies regarding pension schemes at the company. Younger employees may not receive such benefits.

Example Of Denying Benefits

An example of benefits denial for specific employees includes pension coverage disparity in Ireland. The Central Statistics Office in Ireland gave a report of 1/3rd of workers in the age group of 20 to 69 not receiving pension coverage.

The group that received the lowest pension coverage was people aged 20 to 24.

7.   Being Isolated From The Team

Age discrimination can also lead to people suffering from isolation. For example, senior colleagues may leave you out of important meetings. They may call young employees rookies and prevent them from attending a meeting that can enhance their experience.

Meanwhile, such isolation is also common for older adults in some companies. A manager may not include people of a specific age group in a meeting because of their “senile” or “backward” ideas.

Some workplaces also isolate specific employees by not allowing them to attend company dinners or events. Another way team leaders can isolate workers is by giving petty tasks to specific employees.

For instance, a new young employee with high qualifications may be told to go print documents while other team members discuss project ideas.

Examples Of Isolation From The Team

Age discrimination examples of marginalization are common at different companies. For instance, an employee at a Fortune 500 company lost her job one year after marginalized treatment.

A year before her job termination, the employee was not invited to meetings. She was also given assignments that were below her qualifications and working status in the company.

8.   Having Your Position Eliminated

The final example of age discrimination at a company is job elimination. Many companies engage in ageism in the workplace by rebranding specific positions. Most of these roles are those belonging to older workers at the company.

For example, you may be told that you’re being let go by the company because your job position is being eliminated. After the termination, the company may rebrand the same role under a different name and give that position to a younger employee.

The responsibilities of the young worker may be the same as yours. However, their job title would be different.

Example Of Position Elimination

J&M Industries in the US was sued for age discrimination by a 65-year-old worker. The worker’s manager tried to force her to retire after reaching the age of 65.

When she said she wouldn’t retire, the employee was let go with the reason that her position was being eliminated due to economic reasons. A month later, the company gave the same title to a male in his 30s.


What Is The Cause Of Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination is mainly done due to stereotyping and prejudices of specific employees at a company.

How Can We Stop Age Discrimination?

We can stop age discrimination by promoting bias-free hiring at different workplaces. Strict laws surrounding age discrimination may also prevent companies from engaging in this illegal activity.

What Are The Different Types Of Age Discrimination?

Hiring bias, marginalization of workers, and rebranding of employee positions are all age discrimination examples.

What Are Some Signs Of Age Discrimination?

Signs of age discrimination include negative language against specific workers. The hiring disparity in workers at a company may also include age discrimination.

Contact An Attorney To Fight Ageism In The Workplace

These are the top eight age discrimination examples to help you understand ageism in the workplace. If you’re suffering from this illegal activity, you must hire a lawyer to help you.

So don’t go any further to search for qualified attorneys. Contact us today to meet our team of workplace discrimination lawyers.

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