In July, we wrote a post about the problem of age discrimination in employment. Any worker age 40 or older is protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), but such behavior in the workplace is not always easy to prove.

According to a recent study, the problem of ageism (the group of attitudes and prejudices that lead to age discrimination) is even more pervasive than one might expect. The study found that 82 percent of Americans over 50 report that they have personally experienced ageism and/or ageist messages in their own lives.

What constitutes ageism? It is any act of stereotyping, prejudice or discrimination related to aging. Examples can include:

  • Jokes about hearing loss, vision loss or memory loss
  • Jokes/comments/assumptions about how someone cannot understand or use technology because of their age
  • Messages implying or explicitly stating that getting older is inherently negative (and that, by extension, older people have less value)
  • Unwelcome comments about the appearance of gray hair, wrinkles or physical signs of aging
  • Being passed over for jobs, promotions or positions of leadership due to one’s advanced age

Many people who experience significant levels of ageism are more likely to suffer from decreased mental and physical health. And, of course, those who experience ageism in the workplace may suffer significant economic impacts from job loss, promotion loss or failure to get hired.

As mentioned earlier, age discrimination isn’t always easy to prove. But with the help of the right attorney, victims of age discrimination can often collect evidence to demonstrate acts or patterns of behavior to support their claim.

To discuss your own legal options, contact our firm and speak to an experienced employment law attorney.