These days, turning a profit is a top priority for many American business owners. Unfortunately, some employers try to cut costs and boost their bottom lines by discriminating against older people. As you can probably imagine, older workers tend to have more experience, and as a result, they often expect and deserve higher salaries. Some employers avoid having to pay those higher salaries by only hiring younger workers.
Age discrimination, per AARP, occurs when someone has a bias against another because of that person’s age. While the Age Discrimination Employment Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees aged 40 or older, the problem remains a pervasive one in many American work environments. The age discrimination issue has become so widespread, in fact, that two out of every three American employees between the ages of 45 and 74 say they have been a victim of it.
Age discrimination by the numbers
Though the ADEA protects workers 40 or older, workers in their 30s, too, sometimes feel the effects of age discrimination. In fact, those over 35 who look for jobs say age is the single-biggest barrier preventing them from finding gainful employment. While this can hold true in any industry, the issue is more rampant in some fields than others.
If you, for example, work in the entertainment industry, you face a higher chance of experiencing age discrimination than you may otherwise. Workers in the tech industry also report unusually high rates of age discrimination in the workplace. Furthermore, gender also impacts the likelihood of you experiencing age discrimination at work. While 72 percent of female workers between 45 and 74 said they had been victims of age discrimination at work, only 57 percent of men within this age range reported the same.
Current and potential employers cannot discriminate against you because of your age at any stage during the hiring, employment or firing processes. If they attempt to do so, you may be able to hold them accountable.