A strange phenomenon may have suddenly entered your life without you realizing it was there. One day you may have either been at your work or out looking for a new job and realized you were being discriminated against because of your age.
It turns out that age discrimination is alive and well and thriving more than ever before in companies across the country. This may be because 20 percent of all workers in the United States are above the age of 55. This totals around 33 million employees.
Why the discrimination against older employees? One thought is that with age comes a sense of stubbornness of how things should be done. Employers who think this will believe that an older employee will be resistant to understand or follow new ideas. There is even an assumption that younger employees will be more flexible, healthier and will follow the rules. Finally, there is an assumption that a 55-year-old with many years of experience may want a higher salary than someone who is 20 to 30 years younger.
Age discrimination is against the law and there are things you can do to fight against it.
Know the law and your rights
If you have not already done so, you should familiarize yourself with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This federal mandate protects people from age discrimination at every step of the employment relationship. By knowing your rights, you can easily notice when it is happening to you and you can speak to the company about your concerns with knowledge.
Show you are still vibrant and ready to go
If you are interviewing for a job and in your 50’s, show that you are as excited as ever for that particular position and will hit the ground running. If you look like you are winding down and just trying to play out your days to retirement, that can be a turnoff.
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback
While you will most likely not hear from a manager that your advancing years is a problem to them, you may be able to find out about any concerns about performance. This may be an indicator for things to come and is your chance to address any issues.
Always be learning and improving
Demonstrate to your employer that you want to continue improving your knowledge by staying up to date on any new developments. This can be done by attending trainings, workshops or conferences.
Just because you are an older worker does not mean your age defines you or is a giveaway for what type of worker you are. If you continue to stay ahead of any challenges you may face when it comes to your age, there’s a good chance you can keep yourself from being a victim of age discrimination.