What Does Age Discrimination Look Like in the Workplace? | Bantle & Levy



What Does Age Discrimination Look Like in the Workplace?

Many of us expect our careers to grow and new opportunities to open up the more time we spend in an industry. However, this isn’t the case for all employees. When age discrimination occurs in a workplace, employees might not be judged on their value to the organization or the quality of their work, but on their age. Federal, state, and local laws make it illegal to discriminate against employees based on their age, but this still occurs in many workplaces, including those across New York City.

Recognizing age discrimination in the workplace can be difficult and some discriminatory actions and behaviors might be commonplace in some workplaces, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t illegal. Learn more about what age discrimination at work looks like.

Who Can Experience Age Discrimination at Work?

Some might think that the only employees who can be illegally discriminated against due to their age are older employees. However, this isn’t true for employees in New York City. Employees of all ages in the state of New York can experience illegal age discrimination. It also doesn’t matter what age the person engaging in the discriminatory conduct is.

While the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal on the federal level to discriminate against employees 40 years and older for their age, New York State and New York City laws provide protections for more employees. The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) makes it illegal to discriminate against employees 18 years old and older. The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) makes it illegal to discriminate against employees regardless of their age. This means that employees in NYC could be experiencing illegal age discrimination if they’re treated unfavorably for being young.

Examples of Age Discrimination at Work

Age discrimination is illegal in all aspects of employment, which includes hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, and benefits. However, age discrimination can look vastly different for different people, and not everyone will recognize some behaviors as being discriminatory.

Some common examples of age discrimination in employment include:

  • Discriminatory comments about age – Like any type of discrimination, some may try to pass discriminatory comments off as being only jokes. However, discriminatory comments about age can contribute to a hostile work environment.
  • Laying off only older employees – When layoffs occur, older employees may often be targeted, as they may have higher salaries than younger employees. Using age to determine which employees to lay off is a form of age discrimination.
  • Denying benefits to older employees – Some employers may try to deny benefits to older employers due to the costs. The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA) is an amendment of the ADEA that prohibits denying benefits to older employees.
  • Isolating employees of certain age groups – Leaving out certain age groups from meetings, training programs, and company activities could be considered discriminatory conduct.
  • Only hiring and promoting younger employees – If older employees are frequently passed over for jobs and promotions in favor of younger employees with less experience, this could be a sign that age discrimination is occurring.
  • Job listings that deter certain age groups – Older employees may feel unwelcome applying to jobs with listings with wording that favors younger employees. Using terms like “tech-savvy” and “digital native” or having a maximum amount of experience could be seen as discriminatory.

Protect Yourself from Workplace Age Discrimination with Bantle & Levy

Your age doesn’t affect how well you can do your job. If your age is being used against you at work and you believe you’re being illegally discriminated against or harassed, you need the age discrimination attorneys of Bantle & Levy.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your rights in the workplace.


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