Workplace ageism has been around for a long while. People used to worry about age discrimination as they approached their 60s. But now, employees and prospective employees who are decades younger are starting to feel the chilling effects of ageism.
Ageism in the workplace threatens the promising careers of men and women who might otherwise have expected to continue working for a couple of decades or longer. For any number of reasons, these age 40- and 50-something employees may not have the pension equity they need to retire and live comfortably at this juncture of their careers.
Ageism can be subtle
Even if you’re not being ushered out the door with no hope of a golden parachute to cushion your landing, you can still experience subtler forms of workplace ageism.
Small microaggressions add up, too, like co-workers making age-related jokes or giggling over snarky memes about the elderly. Supervisors may assume that older workers are less technologically proficient and pass them over for promotions for which they are qualified.
When you can’t get a foot in the door
Employment sites warn older applicants to freshen up their resumes when applying for jobs, so they don’t inadvertently date themselves and knock them out of the running before they even start. Sometimes hiring managers are clueless enough to come right out and ask applicants how old they are even though such questions are against the law.
What recourse is there against age discrimination?
Learning how to spot and deal with age discrimination in the workplace is your best course of action. In addition to reformatting your resume, become adept at dodging those questions designed to elicit information about your age.
Make sure to gather all your evidence and document every instance of alleged age discrimination. You may decide this is something to pursue legally if age discrimination costs you a federal job or a deserved promotion.