AGE DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE

Is it happening to you?

It’s unlawful to discriminate against workers on the basis of age but age discrimination can be hard to identify, and even harder to prevent. 

Unchecked, age discrimination can create an intimidating work environment and interfere with work performance, morale, employment and advancement opportunities for older workers.

With a rise in insecure work and families struggling financially, the retirement age for many is rising dramatically. 

Whereas 60 was once considered a normal retirement age, these days it is closer to 67. Aside from the financial necessity of paid work, many enjoy their working lives and want to maintain employment. However, this increasing number of older workers, and of older people seeking work, has resulted in a rise in age discrimination. 

While racism and sexism are widely regarded as unacceptable practices in our workplaces, ageism is a form of discrimination that most are not aware of. And we need to put it on the radar. 

The experience, skills and qualifications that older employees offer often get overlooked in favour of younger, cheaper employees.

If any of these have happened to you, you could be experiencing age discrimination:

  • You didn’t get hired because the employer wanted a younger looking person to do the job
  • You were fired because your employer wanted to keep younger workers who are paid less
  • You were turned down for a promotion, which went to someone younger hired from outside the workplace, because the employer says the workplace “is looking for a younger image”
  • When job losses are announced, most affected staff are older, while younger workers with less seniority and less on-the-job experience are kept on
  • Your supervisor or other co-workers makes age-related remarks about you, like
  • you’re “over-the-hill” or “ancient”

If you feel you or someone in your workplace is experiencing age discrimination, make sure you document the incidents with times, dates and specifics. Also make note of any witnesses to the events.

Know your rights and take action against age discrimination from the start.

Remember, HACSUassist offers support and guidance for HACSU members and all calls are confidential. Just call 1300 880 032.