Let’s Leave Ageism in 2022

Published: January 26, 2023

Let’s Leave Ageism in 2022

You’re probably familiar with racism and sexism. However, ageism is a prevalent and harmful form of discrimination rarely discussed. Ageism is any form of discrimination against a person based on their age. Age discrimination can affect both young and old and can be incredibly damaging personally and professionally.

How Common is Ageism?

Unfortunately, ageism is more common than you think. Although we don’t talk about ageism as much as other forms of discrimination, many people regularly experience age discrimination.

Ageism comes in many forms, including:

  • Making jokes that imply someone is less valuable or worthy based on their age
  • Repeating offensive generalizations about a specific generation (millennials are entitled, older adults are frail or out of touch)
  • Using someone’s age to scam, deceive, or control them
  • Treating someone as though they’re insignificant, unintelligent, or expendable based on their age
  • Speaking to an older adult as if they’re a child

People can experience ageism within their families, the healthcare industry, and the workplace.

Ageism in the Workplace            

Age discrimination in the workplace is probably the most prevalent form of ageism.  Although younger employees can experience age discrimination, older adults are more at risk, especially those over 50.  Researchers have found that 67% of workers aged 40-65 plan to continue to work after they turn 66. Improved health and longer life expectancy contribute to people working longer, making it more critical to fighting age discrimination in the workplace.

According to AARP, two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 say they have seen or experienced age discrimination at work, and job seekers over age 35 cite age as a top obstacle to getting hired.

Signs of age discrimination in the workplace include:

  • Being unfairly passed over for promotions or raises
  • Being encouraged or forced to retire
  • Refusing to hire people over or under a certain age
  • Viewing older employees as out of touch or less productive
  • Being left out of meetings or learning opportunities
  • Bullying or harassment

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination and workplace harassment against people aged 40 and older.  In addition, the law prohibits discrimination at any stage of employment, including hiring, promotions, raises, and layoffs. If you witness or experience age discrimination, contact your manager, human resource department, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

What You Can Do to Help

You’ve taken the first steps in fighting ageism by educating yourself on the signs and effects of age discrimination. Like every other form of discrimination, ageism is mentally, physically, and financially harmful. However, we can’t stop ageism without recognizing, acknowledging, discussing, and speaking out against it. Ageism negatively affects us all. We all have older loved ones who should be valued, appreciated, and respected.  It takes us all to leave ageism in the past! So, let’s leave ageism in 2022!