They say that age is just a number. While in many respects this is true, it can, unfortunately, have an effect on how you are perceived in many different scenarios. When it comes to the working environment, studies have shown that those over the age of 40 tend to be more susceptible to be discriminated against because of their age.
This type of age discrimination can occur for a number of reasons. First, employers may realize that older employees demand a higher salary because of their acquired expertise in their profession. This may push employees to start unfairly favoring younger employees in order to save money.
While an increased age usually points to wisdom and expertise, employers may hold negative stereotypes of an older person. For example, they may assume that a person over the age of 40 is less digitally savvy and therefore less employable.
If you believe that you have been affected by age discrimination in the workplace, it is important to understand the ways that the law is in place to protect you. The following is an explanation of how you can use the law to your advantage.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
The ADEA is one of the most comprehensive laws that protect employees who are experiencing age discrimination. It’s a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who are 40 years of age or over on the basis of their age.
The law applies to most scenarios that take place in the working environment, and you do not need to be employed in order to benefit from the law. For example, if you are a prospective employee going through the application process, you are also protected from age discrimination. It could be that a large emphasis was made on your age in the interview, or the interviewer expressed concern about your age and made it clear that this was a factor in the decision process. This situation is a clear example of age discrimination.
If you are concerned that age discrimination is negatively affecting your career, it is important to collect as much evidence as you can. By doing this, you may be able to make an age discrimination claim.