45% of employees have experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Older workers have experienced forced retirement and getting passed over for job opportunities. In a study, researchers created several different resumes for applicants in the age groups 29-31, 49-51, and 64-66. After submitting the resumes to over 40,000 jobs they discovered that the applicants between 64-66 received the least number of callbacks.  

Age discrimination is very prevalent, and it is illegal. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) is it unlawful to discriminate against any individual age 40 or older.  

If businesses make employment decisions based on age, they may face legal liability. Employees can sue a business for age discrimination which can result in a damaged business reputation and large fines.  

Here is how to avoid age discrimination in the workplace:  

Review your hiring process 

There may be unintentional age discrimination during the hiring process, so to help avoid that, consider taking out any sections of your application that disclose information about an applicant’s age. Removing the date that an applicant graduated or completed their degree is helpful. This can allow hiring managers to focus on the skills and experience an applicant brings to the table rather than their age.   

Educate managers  

It is important for employers to educate managers about age discrimination and how it will not be tolerated. Employers must also make sure they follow through with any consequences they have set if a manager unlawfully discriminates against an employee due to any protected status, including age. 

When employers educate leaders and establish clear policies and practices to avoid discrimination it helps employees feel better about the workplace and reduces unnecessary liability for the company. 

Avoid age-based layoffs  

During the unfortunate event that employers are forced to reduce headcount, it is important for employers to ensure they are not making those decisions based on age. For example, employers may think that someone older is closer to retirement so the termination will not hit them as hard as it would a 30-year-old with young children. However, that is an example of age discrimination, and it is unlawful.   

Employers should make these difficult choices solely based on performance and the necessity of the position they hold.  

Age discrimination can happen even without malice, and it can cause businesses to have a damaged reputation or costly fines if it occurs. Employers should consider using these tips to help avoid age discrimination in the workplace.