While more and more baby boomers are retiring each year, many are taking on part-time work. In fact, in February, Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calculated that of Americans over the age of 65, 10.6 million people—are either looking for work or are working.
Often, these older workers seek lower-paying jobs that they can work part time and get enjoyment out of. However, in research released in 2019, many employers opted to hire younger or middle-age applicants, no matter what qualifications they had for the job. And middle-age women and women over 65 reported age discrimination more than men, 72% compared to 57%.
If you are over 50 and looking for a job, here are five things you need to know about age discrimination in the workplace:
- Age discrimination can happen at any point in the workplace, from the hiring process and to receiving promotions or raises, or during layoffs.
- You don’t have to answer how old you are in an interview. If you are older, you might want to practice a diplomatic response to that question because an employer legally isn’t banned from asking it. You also may want to remove your age from any LinkedIn or Facebook profile.
- No one can harass you because of your age. Any uncalled-for snide comments about gray hair, how you may not understand email because of your age or exclusion from technology training or from important meetings is unprofessional and considered harassment.
- If your employer starts to lighten your workload, gets rid of your job title or encourages you to retire, those all can be signs of your employer trying to force you out and hire someone younger.
- You are facing harsh reprimands or an uncalled-for probation or improvement plan. If you have been a model employee and suddenly find yourself coming under harsh supervision and correction, that can be a sign of age discrimination and harassment too.
If you feel your employer has discriminated against because of your age, you need to consult an experienced attorney. Older workers have protections under the law too and shouldn’t feel like their age played a role in their employment opportunities.