What is Age discrimination?
Age discrimination occurs when an applicant or employee is treated unfairly because of his or her age.
Age discrimination against people over the age of 40 is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). It does not protect individuals under the age of 40, despite the fact that some states have laws protecting new staff from age discrimination. Even if both employees are 40 or older, it is not illegal for an employer or other covered entity to favour an older employee over a younger one.
Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are both over 40.
Examples of Age discrimination
1. Inequitable hiring of younger employees
2. There are few opportunities for advancement for older workers.
3. Layoffs/staff reductions targeting older workers
4. Isolation of senior employees
5. Workplace harassment based on age
6. Unjust or irrational disciplinary action
How should HR handle Age discrimination in an organization?
1. Develop a clear HR policy on age discrimination
Create a clear HR policy on age discrimination—guidelines that reflect company philosophy and specify enforcement actions. The policy must be consistent, relevant, understandable, and reasonable. The company should take a firm stance against any form of age discrimination, and its policies should reflect this stance. It's a good idea to have any policies reviewed by someone with legal knowledge to ensure they're legal and ethical.
2. Distribute and communicate the policy on age discrimination
Some businesses may use employee handbooks to inform employees about company policies and procedures for implementing those policies. Employees require immediate access to critical information about how to conduct business and about themselves. The handbook should be used by supervisors and managers to enforce the policies. Age discrimination policies address how individuals are treated based on their ability to do their jobs rather than their age.
3. Implement a progressive discipline programme as part of the policy process
This will be a series of steps that will progress from verbal to written warnings. Employees must understand the consequences of policy violations. Supervisors and managers must be trained to recognise age discrimination. Human resources is in charge of providing training and consulting in cases involving age discrimination. In addition, the department should educate all employees about age discrimination.
4. Recognize a possible case of age discrimination
Supervisors assigning more difficult jobs to younger employees is one example. Another example is referring to old age and retirement to employees, or treating older job applicants differently than younger applicants. Remove any age discrimination statements or actions from job advertisements, recruiting, interviewing, and hiring new employees. Ensure that all applicants are subjected to the same screening procedures. Internal employees should be treated fairly and consistently in terms of promotions, training, compensation, and benefits.