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What you need to know about age discrimination

You might think about sexual harassment or gender inequality when the topic of workplace discrimination comes up. Age discrimination does not receive as much discussion as the other types, but it occurs regularly at workplaces in Kentucky and elsewhere.

Bias and unfair treatment related to employees' and job prospects' age is more common than you might think.

AARP claims that as many as two out of every three workers between the ages of 45 and 74 have either experienced or witnessed age discrimination at their jobs. In 2016, 20,857 age discrimination claims were reported to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. What exactly is age discrimination, you may wonder? This form of discrimination or harassment involves an employee or potential hire losing a job, seeing a promotion or hire go to someone less qualified, receiving different job assignments, missing benefits or facing taunting for his or her age.

Age discrimination in people age 40 and older violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Some examples of how this might happen to you include the following:

  • You interviewed for a new position for which you were qualified and experienced, but the employer turned you down and chose someone less experienced because the company wanted a younger person in the position.
  • Your employer phased out your job title and forced you out of work simply because of your age.
  • Your younger associates' yearly bonuses, which the employer did not base on tenure, were more than yours.
  • Your employer chose someone younger and more "hip" for a public presentation, despite you having the qualifications and experience for these types of engagements.
  • You are regularly the subject of teasing, insults and demeaning comments about your age from management, your co-workers or clients.

The fact that proving discrimination occurred due to your age is more difficult than other forms of discrimination can make it discouraging to file a claim. However, you have the right to fair treatment at work or while interviewing, regardless of your age.

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