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How Old Is Too Old in the Workplace?

Your boss might not say it outright, but you know what they are hinting at. They are telling you that you are too old for the job.

Ageism is a constant problem in workplaces around the country, yet, it is also illegal. While most savvy employers know they cannot tell you you are too old to your face, that may not stop them from letting you know in other ways. Some may be conscious, and others things they do not even realize they are doing.

What constitutes age discrimination?

Federal law allows you to claim age discrimination if you are 40 or over.  Here are some of the things that may constitute age discrimination:

  • Job descriptions: “New startup looking for lively and enthusiastic digital natives.” Many employers are still to wake up to how ageist their job listings can be.
  • Overlooking you for promotions: It may be that the person who got the job was better qualified for the position than you. Yet, if you believe it was down to age, then you may have a case.
  • Ageist comments: “We’re going out. Do you want to join us, or is it past your bedtime?”
  • Jokes: Giving you a pair of incontinence pants in the Secret Santa at work might seem funny to others, but it is age discrimination.

Most employers do not hate older people. Often, their error is not thinking things through enough. Yet, to ensure equality and avoid exclusion, they need to. If they are guilty of age discrimination and unwilling to rectify their ways, you need to find out how to correct them and protect your rights to equality.

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