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Why is age discrimination still an issue?

On Behalf of | Aug 7, 2023 | Employment Law |

Age discrimination is perhaps the strangest form of discrimination because everyone who practices it will eventually become “old” themselves. By contrast, someone is never going to become of a different race or sex.

Laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against workers aged 40 and over because of their age have been in place for a long time. Yet it’s clear that it still happens and that many employers prefer younger workers.

Here are some possible reasons that explain this continued bias against future versions of ourselves:

People like to be with others their own age

Recruiting is still a very human process, despite the use of AI in parts of it. As humans can never be 100 percent objective their preferences may creep into their hiring decisions. One of those being they’d prefer to hang out with people their own age rather than someone who reminds them of their parents. 

People see experience as a threat

Picture a youngish middle manager on the interview panel. If they are insecure about their position of authority they may find it easier to choose someone junior to them rather than someone older who they are fully aware knows far more about the world than they do. 

Sometimes it’s all about an image

Being “old” is not that cool in the general US psyche. Most companies want to be seen as hip and cutting-edge; disruptors to the old order. Filling their workplace with younger staff helps them keep and promote that image (in their minds at least).

Thankfully the law does not pander to such whims. If you feel an employer has discriminated against you because of your age, there are legal options available.