Ageism in the workplace may be difficult to identify

Workplace discrimination in California takes many forms, and ageism is among the hardest to spot. With Baby Boomers working alongside Gen Xers and Millennials in today’s workforce, and with complex anti-discrimination rules and regulations on the books, sensitivity to ageism is more important now than ever. The ways opportunities are offered, the specifics of employee handbooks, the working environment and the business website may all present clues as to how older employees are viewed at a given organization.

In many businesses, evidence of ageism can be found in the ways development and training opportunities are offered to employees. If younger employees are encouraged to earn new certifications, for example, while older employees are not, that may evidence of ageism. Older employees, generally speaking, should have the same chances to develop new skills as their younger counterparts.

Employee handbooks almost always contain written policies against sexual harassment and racial discrimination, but they may not include discussion of age discrimination. Age discrimination policies should be written in black and white and made accessible to employees company wide. The working environment should be friendly to workers of all ages. An atmosphere where some workers are teased about their age may indicate that the company is engaging in ageist practices.

A company website that gives the impression that all the workers are young is not inclusive of older workers. Many businesses drive potential employees away by conveying the impression that older workers are not welcome. An individual who feels he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of age may have a claim for damages. An attorney with experience handling employment discrimination cases may be able to help by examining the facts of the case and identifying potential causes of action. An attorney may be able to negotiate a solution with the employer or gather evidence of discrimination in preparation for trial.

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