Who is most at risk of workplace age discrimination?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Age Discrimination

The longer someone has worked in a particular profession, the more expertise they usually acquire. Years of hands-on experience, continuing education and industry networking can make someone a very valuable resource for their employer and even their coworkers. Many workers find that they earn their most competitive wages and qualify for the best positions after they have established themselves firmly in a specific industry. Their final working years may be their most successful and lucrative ones.

In theory, older employees should not have to worry about mistreatment from their coworkers related to their age. The law also prohibits their employer from considering their age when making decisions about who gets a promotion, how much of a raise to grant or which workers should help with a major upcoming project.

Unfortunately, even though federal law and state employment rules in New York prohibit discrimination based on age, some workers still find that they do not receive the same treatment as their younger co-workers. The following workers are generally most at risk of age discrimination in the workplace.

Those visibly over the age of 40

Technically, federal age discrimination statutes specifically protect those who are 40 years old or older. Younger workers do not necessarily have the same protection. Employers may need a certain degree of experience for a particular position or project. Younger workers who do not qualify for a job may not be able to claim discrimination based on age. Once a worker is 40 years old or older, they theoretically have protection from discrimination in the workplace. The older someone looks, the more likely they are to receive different treatments from coworkers. Women over the age of 40, in particular, may find that their appearance leads to reduced workplace opportunities and frequent discrimination.

Those in younger-skewing professions

Certain industries, including entertainment and information technology, have a strong association with fresh ideas, youthful workers and recent college graduates. Employees who have long established themselves in such professions may find themselves struggling to gain new opportunities or retain their current position because of the subtle biases within the industry itself.

Those who have experienced age discrimination at work may have reason to take legal action against their employers. Fighting back against age discrimination can compensate a worker and deter a company from permitting similar misconduct in the future.

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