Workplace discrimination happens on various fronts, one of which is on the age front. Ageism primarily targets employees in their 50s, with the younger employees and employers having negative stereotypes towards their older employees.
Companies deny having ageism in the workplace, considering the various laws against it. However, it does exist and occurs without team leaders, managers and bosses seeing it. There are even times older employees see certain behaviours in the workplace and interpret them as a sign that ageism exists.
What exactly are the signs that ageism exists in a workplace?
Here are 10 signs to look for.
- Learning opportunities are only open for younger employees and not older candidates. These opportunities can include educational courses, seminars and conferences.
- Older employees are left out during client meetings and certain company events. As a result, they feel isolated and do not feel part of the team.
- Negative comments about age are common in the workplace and often framed as a “joke” or a casual comment regarding one’s future, physical incapacities and others. These comments can also be very aggressive in nature.
- Older employees are passed over for promotions and raises, but this can also occur depending on their performance. However, there are times when managers do not show any interest in giving these older employees the promotion they deserve due to their age.
- Hiring focuses on younger people even if older people have better CVs and skillsets. Since the focus is getting a younger employee into the company, the company has a lower older population.
- Older employees get poor performance reviews even if their performance does not change. The team leader or manager handling the more senior employee can also be very strict towards them even though the younger employee needs extra guidance.
- Older employees are harassed by their peers to pressure them to quit. Harassment is done through name-calling, physical violence and blackmailing.
- Younger employees tend to shy away from older employees because of existing stereotypes.
- Older employees don’t get the chance to work on fun projects compared to their younger peers. They often get the worst jobs in the project, like reports and paperwork filing.
- Some companies ask older employees to retire early; some companies favour having a younger workforce. Some companies may even just lay them off or remove the position altogether to eliminate the older employee.
If you find any one or all of these signs in your workplace, it can be hard to deny that ageism exists in the workplace. Once you see these signs of ageism, don’t be afraid to call out those who support it and find ways to combat these actions. Not only will it show that age doesn’t matter when it comes to performance and dedication to the company you are working in, but it will also call for equality in the workplace.
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