Age Based Discrimination

Older worker job hunting in spite of age discriminationIf you feel that you have been put at an employment disadvantage, any discrimination lawyer Los Angeles has to offer can explain the legal parameters for you. Everyone is conscious of the possibilities of discrimination at work in some fashion or other, but they may not be aware of some of the things that can be considered as discrimination or what the legal options are. This is especially true of issues related to age in the workplace.

Stereotypes of Age

We fall into patterns of stereotyping by grouping people and attributing certain characteristics to that group. The stereotypes can grow subtly, based on general assumptions made by society. When it comes to issues of age, for instance, stereotypes would include that older citizens are more prone to being ill, or that they are likely to be more forgetful. Those types of stereotypes can cause employers to think that an older employee will have more or more frequent health problems, or be less detail oriented on the job than a younger (though less experienced) employee.

Improved Conditions for Aging

Throughout the last century, general improvements in living conditions and health care have brought changes to how people age. Many older people are highly active, more so than they had been in previous generations.  More sophisticated health care also allows for a number of conditions to be managed without interfering with regular activities, including jobs. The “infirmities of age” that are a detriment in the workplace are considerably fewer these days.

Experience in Older Workers

Life-experience gives most people a broad range of problem-solving skills and a more adaptive perspective. The stereotype of the older citizen pictures them as set in their ways and unable to adapt. Yet if that person has gone through a wide range of experiences, adaptability is part of their survival skills. Within various professions, a person needs to stay on top of changes to keep up with the work: thus, a more experienced employee should be considered a more valuable asset. The longer an employee has been with a company, the better the grasp that person has of the company’s goals.

Discrimination

In spite of the above-mentioned factors that are favorable for older employees, stereotyping leads to discrimination of older employees. It may begin through unconsidered assumptions, such as assuming that an older employee will be less able to take on a new task than a younger, less experienced employee. The fact that the person making the decision may not realize the underlying prejudice that is creating this discrimination makes these situations challenging to deal with.

When workers remain fully competent in their jobs and have earned preferential consideration due to their endeavors, they should not be held back by social assumptions about imagined incompetence of age.  Older workers bring trained experience to their jobs, as well as potentially better developed social skills. If discrimination against them because of their age starts affecting their jobs, older workers should seek legal advice about ways to resolve the situation.