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What is Age Discrimination?

What is Age Discrimination?

Have You Been Discriminated Against Due to Your Age?

Age discrimination is a problem that faces many modern societies. Many societies, like the United States, value youth and strength above all else. These attitudes may lead to age discrimination. However, just like any type of discrimination, age discrimination can be against the young or the old. As healthcare in industrialized societies improves, people are living longer and healthier lives, that means it may not be wise for a person to retire in their sixties. The current economic condition in the United States is another reason that a person may not be able to retire at a younger age. More people are having the need to work longer in order to maintain their style of life.

Discriminating Against Older Employees

Age DiscriminationRecent economic changes have also put more people out of work and in need of employment of all ages. Experience was once a valued commodity. Now, it means that an employer may be expected to pay that employee more than one who they can train. It may be less expensive for a company to hire a younger employee and put a little money into training them than it would be to hire an already trained, experienced, older employee. Some employers worry that an older employee will have more health problems than a younger one. This is a common stereotype of older people. Any bias that is based on stereotyping is discrimination. There is no evidence that all young people are healthier than all old people are. People are all different. Each one must be viewed on their own merit.

In spite, of education to the contrary, some employers believe that older employees have more family issues than younger employees. They view this negatively because it could mean more time away from work. Some employers prefer to hire young, single people because they have fewer commitments than older ones.

Discriminating Against Younger Employees

However, in some situations it is the younger person who may experience age discrimination. Some co-workers may enjoy tormenting a younger co-worker with age related slurs. Jokes that relate to age, like leaving pacifiers on an employee’s desk, etc., are inappropriate and may be considered age discrimination. While some people find it difficult to maintain a professional attitude in the office, the law requires that the atmosphere in any working environment be free from harassment of any sort. No one should feel that they are being tormented at work. If they do, they may have a case for age discrimination under a hostile working environment.

Whether the employee or employer is old or young, if the working environment that they find themselves in makes them uncomfortable, they do have the right to correct the situation. The first step that they must take is to notify the harasser that they are not enjoying the atmosphere that has been created. If this step does not work, the employee may need to contact an employment lawyer for assistance.

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