Discrimination in the workplace can take on many forms, including how one’s age causes certain perceptions in others that can affect older employees in a negative way,
According to the American Association of Retired Persons, ageist assumptions and stereotypes can harm the overall environment of a workplace; however, managers and human resource personnel can curtail these issues by watching for a few signs of this type of discrimination.
1. Ageist comments
Younger employees may encourage an ageist workplace by making consistent comments related to an older worker’s age. Even comments meant to praise an older employee, such as, “He is a regular old workhorse,” can open doors for others to make comments as well. This type of language can cause particular harm when used by a manager, as it may set a tone for the workplace.
2. Harmful stereotypes
When young employees apply stereotypes to older workers, others may assume the comments are true. The assumption that people over the age of 50 cannot use email, social media or other types of modern technology may cause older workers to feel unmotivated or invisible, which could negatively affect the quality of their work.
3. Unequal workloads
Companies that can offer new and exciting opportunities to their employees can make for a motivated and exciting workplace culture, but sometimes, older workers may find themselves passed up for new assignments and watch them go to younger, less experienced employees instead. Assumptions that older workers cannot handle such a task are discriminatory and unfair.
Ageism is often coded with certain words and acts that can make older employees feel useless. Managers and company owners can curb this problem by remaining aware of their businesses’ work culture and reviewing policies to ensure age discrimination does not become the norm.