Mark Twain said: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” US law would tend to agree with him. Unfortunately, many employers or recruiters do not.
The 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees from age discrimination in the workplace. There have been many instances where their bias can be blatant. Some examples include:
- Advertising a job with a note saying, “Under-30s only need apply.”
- Telling a worker, “We wanted to promote someone younger and more dynamic.”
- Refusing to give an employee extra shifts because “You get tired more easily at your age.”
- Not inviting a worker to an important client dinner because “It will be past your bedtime.”
More often than not, age discrimination is covert. Employers are unlikely to admit that they made a decision due to your age, especially in court. They will argue they based it on performance, experience, qualifications, technical abilities or a host of other reasons.
Like many forms of discrimination, discriminating against someone because of their age is built into our society and culture. People often do it unconsciously. Researchers found that: “Young adults, anxious about their future, attribute to older people the negative stereotypes that they fear will describe their own futures.”
That does not make age discrimination correct or acceptable: it means businesses need to accept these unconscious biases exist and work harder to ensure they are not guilty of them. A Texas employment law attorney can help you if you believe you have suffered age discrimination at work. You only need to be 40 years old to claim, which is positively young.