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

Fact Sheet We Can Make a Difference!

 
  • 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

Movies

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

Love Justice

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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  • 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.
Love Justice

Recent Successes

Scotsman - Most of us would never think of using racist or sexist language in the workplace. But ageism is often viewed as less serious, with older people frequently the butt of jokes or “affectionate” teasing.

Even phrases that appear complimentary – such as addressing someone as “young lady” – reflect our collective fear of ageing.

In many ways, this has been thrown into sharp focus over the last year. Even the most fit and active 70-somethings have realized their vulnerability to a deadly virus, which unfortunately does discriminate on the basis of age.

The effort across the generations to reach out to those most vulnerable to Covid-19 has been heartening. But it has also highlighted a tendency to view older people as helpless victims and overlook the huge contribution they still make to society. Age Scotland’s latest research paints a worrying picture of how many older people feel they are perceived.

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Love Justice

Forbes - In 2021, companies created more roles for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion than ever before. That’s good because the root causes of inequities are complicated, and it takes someone with deep understanding and influence to shift employee hearts and minds.

But, there’s a serious problem.

Age is rarely included in the DEI equation. And that means many employee cultures are not learning how age bias and discrimination show up in the workplace. Nor are they being schooled on the intersection of age across other dimensions of diversity, including ableism. 

“It’s important to distinguish between ageism and ableism because we need to understand what we’re up against,” says Ashton Applewhite, age activist and author of This Chair Rocks. Like inequities across any other dimension of diversity, unpacking the root cause and understanding how it manifests in the workplace can be complicated.

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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