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7 subtle forms of age discrimination at work

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2023 | Workplace Discrimination |

Facing age discrimination in the workplace can be challenging. Sometimes, a coworker might discriminate against you due to your age without feeling wronged until later, once you review the incident more thoroughly.

There are many subtle forms of age discrimination, including the following:

  • Making stereotypical comments based on age: Referring to workers as “fresh faces” or being “set in their ways” might stem from age discrimination.
  • A significant difference in treatment: Managers can intentionally or unintentionally do so by delegating tasks or offering promotion opportunities based on age.
  • Degrading others because of their age: Hurtful words could be age discrimination, specifically if they put others down for being young or old.
  • Creating social events or activities excluding specific age groups: The workplace should have an inclusive environment. Leaving out employees because of their age can be discriminatory.
  • Assuming employee competencies based on age: An example of this behavior is when a manager believes an older employee finds it challenging to work with recent technology or digital tools.
  • Unexpected layoffs exclusive to older employees: Layoffs often happen for appropriate reasons. It could be age discrimination if the decision only affects a specific age group.
  • Using age as a basis for employment decisions: Management should have a solid performance review and assessment process, especially concerning compensation matters. If the standards exhibit bias based on age, it might be discriminatory.

Any company should have policies to resolve these forms of discrimination in compliance with federal and state employment laws.

Addressing age discrimination

These instances might only be illegal, depending on the circumstances. Still, you should contact the company’s HR representative if you experience these forms of discrimination. Doing so can help address these incidents and seek other options if needed.