Ageism: Are Your Employees Affected?

Ageism: Are Your Employees Affected?

It turns out 60 percent of older employees feel discriminated against due to their age, according to a report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

However, only 3 percent of those employees say they submitted a formal complaint about age discrimination. The EEOC report says this indicates underreporting of the issue.

What is Ageism?

Ageism is stereotyping and discrimination based on age, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Much like racism or sexism, ageism takes many forms. In the workplace, this kind of discrimination could mean overlooking older employees for promotions or favoring younger employees’ help on projects.

Impact in the Workplace

In addition to negatively impacting individuals’ careers, the WHO says ageism can affect employee health directly.

Conditions like high blood pressure and anxiety can be caused by age discrimination in the workplace, according to the WHO.

How to Combat It

The first step to countering ageism is examining company culture, according to the EEOC. The EEOC says company culture determines whether employees feel valued.

Another method is simply recognizing ageism and rejecting its stereotypes. For instance, if you find yourself routinely tapping younger workers, consider including older employees in tasks.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut way to dissolve ageist attitudes, but awareness is a good first step. If you notice these trends among employees or managers, speak up before the issue persists.