The modern employment market is highly competitive, especially for the best-paying and most prestigious positions. Companies are able to consider many different factors when they decide who they want to hire for a position, but there are other personal qualities that should play no part in employment decisions.
Whether you were an internal applicant for a position that would be a promotion or you decided to seek a job at another company, the company should look at your work history, educational background and other factors that impact your ability to do your job. They should not look at protected characteristics, such as race, gender or religion.
In certain circumstances, your age may also be a protected characteristic. Do you believe that age discrimination might have impacted a recent hiring or promotion decision that affected your career?
Only those over the age of 40 are vulnerable to age discrimination
While it may be true that some employers might shy away from hiring younger workers for certain jobs, the federal government does not consider that practice a form of discrimination. Age discrimination solely focuses on workers who are over the age of 40.
Once you reach the age of 40, the company that employs you or companies that you apply to should no longer consider your age as a factor when deciding whether to hire you, fire you, promote you or give you a raise. If you have reason to suspect that your age was the deciding factor in a recent employment decision, you might be the victim of age discrimination.
Why do companies discriminate against older workers?
There are a number of reasons why a manager or human resources professional might discriminate against older workers. Older workers have more experience, so they may expect higher wages. The person doing the hiring might view older workers as more of a liability for health insurance purposes, which might mean that it affects the cost of the benefits that they provide to their staff.
Someone with hiring authority may fixate on the idea that someone will retire sooner if they are over the age of 40, which means needing to fill the position again in the future. They might even believe something inaccurate, like the idea that people over the age of 40 don’t know how to operate a computer or learn new software.
If you believe or know that your age influenced a recent work decision, you may have grounds to bring a discrimination claim against the company for considering a protected characteristic in their employment decisions.