Agism is a very real problem in the United States. Our culture revolves around individuality and independence. While Americans value family, we don’t have a strong tradition of caring for and respecting our elderly like some other countries do. Because we value independence, we tend to view people who cannot take care of themselves as lesser.
Oftentimes, this is what happens to elderly people. Others assume that they cannot take care of themselves, that their mental state is deteriorating, and make other assumptions. This is not always the case! The elderly are valued members of the community who should not be discriminated against because of their age. Especially in the workplace, there are laws that protect the elderly from this type of discrimination.
Age Discrimination Protection
Age discrimination happens when one person treats another person poorly as a result of their age. This is protected against in the workplace by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA protects those over the age of 40 from discrimination in the workplace. A few common discrimination situations that might occur in a job setting include issues with:
- Job assignments or opportunities
In addition to these workplace issues, there are general issues of harassment that should not be tolerated. Harassment includes any derogatory comments made to a person about their age. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between harassment and simple joking or teasing. If you are not sure if you have a harassment case, please contact my office. I can review your situation and help you determine if you should take legal action or not. If remarks about your age are so severe that you have a hostile work environment, you are probably experiencing harassment.
Sometimes, you might feel uncomfortable contacting the authorities about work harassment. This might be the case if the person who is harassing you is your superior. However, harassment is a serious form of age discrimination. You deserve justice and should take the steps necessary to get it.
Some employment policies can be discriminatory for those over the age of 40. But, you might not think that you can take action because the policy is not singling you out. Even policies that apply to everyone in the office can still be discriminatory if they have a negative impact on employees over age 40. If these policies are not based on factors other than age, they should be changed. You can talk to an attorney about a discriminatory employment policy.
No matter what your discrimination situation is, you should not tolerate ageism. To get help for an age discrimination issue, please contact our office.