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What does age discrimination look like?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2024 | Workplace discrimination |

Some employers value the experience that age can bring. Others consider people to be past it by the time they reach a particular age, regardless of their talents and experience.

While age discrimination can occur at any age, it only becomes illegal once someone turns 40. So, if you are 25 and an employer thinks you are too old for a job on their team, there is not much you can do about it. 

Employers discriminate on age in various ways

Some employers discriminate during the hiring process. They word the job postings in a way that causes people above a certain age to feel unwelcome. Alternatively, they may look at applications for clues to a person’s age and discard any they consider too old. That’s why you should try not to write anything that could give away your age on an application, such as the year you graduated or your date of birth.

Employers might also show ageism by ignoring a person for promotion or training or limiting them to certain tasks. Ageist comments or actions are another way an employer might show age discrimination – calling you Grandad just because you are 42, or failing to invite you to the bar with everyone else because they assumed it would be past your bedtime. Finally, an employer can also discriminate against someone because of their age by letting them go.

It can be challenging to prove age discrimination, as an employer can claim other factors were behind their decision. This may be true. There may have been a better candidate to recruit, promote or retain. However, if you suspect the real reason an employer made a decision about you was due to your age, then, provided you are over 40, you might want to investigate your legal options.