Age Discrimination
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Ageism is as odious as racism and sexism.”

— Claude Pepper

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I think ageism is a cultural illness; it’s not a personal illness.”

— Frances McDormand

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We’ve made so many advances in other areas - civil rights, gay rights - but ageism is still an area that’s taboo and not talked about and dealt with.

— Madonna Ciccone

Age Discrimination News

Too Old?: Claims of Age Discrimination Relaunched Against University of Oxford

By Olivia Boyle On November 3, 2022. A group of professors have launched an age discrimination claim against the university. There will be a tribunal in November. This comes just…
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The Rise of Age-Friendly Jobs in the U.S.

By Daron Acemoğlu, Professor of Applied Economics, MIT. –Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School. –Nicolaj Søndergaard Mühlbach, Analytics Associate, McKinsey & Company. On November 3, 2022. Promoting more…
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Recommended Media

After a 75 year-old immigrant mother gets fired without cause from her lifelong job as a hotel housekeeper, her son takes her on a bucket-list adventure to reclaim her life. As she struggles to find work, he documents a journey that uncovers the economic insecurity shaping not only her future, but that of an entire generation.

Where to Watch: Vimeo, YouTube, Google Play

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The second episode in the "Citizen Brain" series explains how fighting ageism can help us live longer -- and make the world better. Hosted by Josh Kornbluth, an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute and Hellman Visiting Artist at UCSF's Memory and Aging Center. Featuring neuroscientists Rose Anne Kenny, MD, Kate Rankin, PhD, and Pascal Gagneux, PhD.

Where to Watch: Vimeo

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Get Informed

Fact Sheet

  • 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 it as a top obstacle to getting hired.
    AARP
  • Among older workers surveyed by AARP, not getting hired is the most common type of age discrimination they experienced, with 19% of respondents citing it. An additional 12% say they missed out on a promotion because of age, and 8% say they were laid off or fired.
    AARP
  • In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 20,857 charges of age discrimination. Age discrimination makes up more than 1 in 5 of the discrimination charges received by the EEOC.
    AARP
  • Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against any individual who is 40 years of age or older because of age in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.
    Office of Civil Rights
  • Discriminatory practices also include harassment based on age; retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices; and employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of people of a particular age.
    Office of Civil Rights
  • Contrary to stereotypes, workers age 50 and up are among the most engaged members of the workforce, according to an AARP study. 65% of employees age 55 and up are "engaged," compared to 58 to 60 percent of younger employees. They also offer employers lower turnover rates and greater levels of experience.
    AARP

Resources, Publications, & Articles

  • Ageism seeps into many institutions and sectors of society including those providing health and social care, in the workplace, media and the legal system. Healthcare rationing based solely on age is widespread.
  • Both older and younger adults are often disadvantaged in the workplace and access to specialized training and education decline significantly with age. Ageism against younger people manifests across many areas such as employment, health, housing and politics where younger people’s voices are often denied or dismissed.
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Ways to Take Action

Presuming that older workers are marking their time to retirement, are not interested in learning new skills, or assuming that the incumbent would immediately leave for something better is damaging to employee morale and productivity. It also leaves your organization open to potential legal risks. Notice the subtleties and encourage managers to dig deeper when looking for candidates.

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It is equally important to watch for social cues in the workplace. Birthday cards that joke about old age, and the mentioning of senior moments while often done with affection and in jest, can be signs of a bias toward older workers. Although appearing harmless, these are often the smoking guns in age discrimination lawsuits.

Creating a safe space where employees feel comfortable sharing concerns and conducting respectful discourse is vital to combatting ageism in the workplace. Cultivating open lines of communication is a way to build trust, show commonality and break the generational boundaries that can form unintentionally.

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