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Age in America: What is ageism and how does it impact workers?

A law forbidding discrimination against people who are age 40 or older hasn't stopped ageism from happening in the U.S.
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Posted at 8:59 AM, Jun 17, 2024

Age-based discrimination, better known as ageism, is considered to be one of the last socially accepted prejudices in the U.S. But that does not mean it is less pervasive or that it should be accepted. AARP reports more that than 40% of workers over the age of 40 experienced age discrimination sometime in the last three years.

ZipRecruiter found that one in four managers would pick a 30-year-old over a 60-year-old if both candidates were equally qualified.

Editor-in-chief of WorkingNation Ramona Schindelheim said that people of all ages can be impacted by ageism, not just older workers.

"People have these stereotypes about age," she said. "There's stereotypes that older workers are not as quick, not as agile, they're not fun to be in the workplace with, but more importantly, that they don't understand the technology. For young people, it's about, are they lazy, they're not going to stick around on the job. These impact how we are seen by our employers and our co-workers, for that matter, and it can prevent us from getting hired or prevent us from getting promoted."

This discrimination occurs despite that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.

"The law prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment," the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.