3 ways that age discrimination can affect someone’s career
Discrimination involves an employer making decisions about someone’s professional future based on factors outside of their control. When people talk about discrimination, they often think about male supervisors giving poor performance reviews to female subordinates or managers letting their racial bias affect who gets the best projects or promotions.
However, discrimination can also relate to someone’s medical condition or age. The federal government specifically has age discrimination rules in place to protect those who are 40 years of age or older. Anyone treated differently by their employer because of their age may have grounds to pursue an age discrimination claim.
How does age discrimination negatively affect employees?
1. They lose projects and promotions
It should be your job performance and experience that determines what kind of sales leads or other career opportunities you receive. Unfortunately, employers often let their pro-youth bias affect how they treat their older, experienced workers. Years of dedication to a company may start to seem meaningless when you get repeatedly passed over for promotions or exciting projects in favor of younger, less experienced workers.
2. They get forced out of their jobs
Companies may intentionally target older workers when making retention decisions during a downsizing effort. Older employees may also have a hard time getting job offers despite having the skills necessary to perform a specific job. Companies should not let a worker’s age influence who they higher, lay off or fire.
3. They experience a hostile work environment
Does your supervisor make uncomfortable jokes about you based on your age or the generation to which you belong? Do your coworkers exclude you from socialization in the lunchroom or after work? Do people gossip about you or treat you differently because of your age?
Even if the company doesn’t take any direct actions that affect your employment, there could still be age discrimination occurring if the business allows a hostile work environment to continue unchecked. Workers subject to mistreatment by their coworkers or supervisors may experience mental health issues as a result of their job-related stress. They may also find that the behavior of their coworkers makes them less safe on the job.
Documenting and fighting back against age discrimination can help those who believe their age has started to negatively affect their careers.