Employees who are of the age 40 and above are protected by the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“the Act”), but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to bias and discrimination because of their age. Also, not all age groups who may be subject to age discrimination, stereotyping, or practices are included by the Act.
Your company and your company’s human resources department are responsible for preventing age discrimination in hiring, compensation, and terminations, but mistakes can be made, and managers and employees can get away with age bias either knowingly or unknowingly. However, there are concrete steps your company can take to mitigate age bias and address each instance of it as soon as it arises.
- Reviewing Hiring Practices at Your Company
Focus on the hiring procedures at your company. It is not against the law to inquire about a potential employee’s date of birth. However, this could pave the way for a claim of age discrimination. You might want to think about dropping this inquiry from the application. Furthermore, while it is common to assume that most people do their job searches online these days, doing so may be leaving out a sizable part of older employees who are more comfortable with “traditional” methods of hiring. Although it may seem archaic to post a notice outside your company inviting curious passer-by to come in and ask questions, research shows that this strategy really attracts a more representative cross-section of the community.
- Restructuring Promotions
Instances where younger employees are promoted ahead of older employees can lead to claims of age discrimination. Consult with an attorney specializing in employment law such as our experienced employment law attorneys at the Walsh Law Firm LLC to draft guidelines for merit-based pay increases and promotions.
- Encourage an Optimistic Outlook Among Young Employees on Collaborating with More Seasoned Employees
Combating ageism in the workplace requires the creation of a safe space where employees feel comfortable voicing concerns and engaging in civil conversation. Building trust, highlighting shared values, and bridging generational gaps can all be accomplished via the deliberate cultivation of open channels of communication. Secondly, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for social cues on the job. Although it is usually done lovingly and in jest, sending a birthday card with a joke about becoming older or bringing up the topic of “senior moments” can be indicators of bias towards older employees. Though seemingly innocuous, these items frequently serve as the “smoking guns” in age discrimination cases.
- Invest in Development and Continuing Learning and Education Programs
Employees of all ages should be able to participate in educational and training programs, while you can decide to restrict some programs to specific job functions. Encourage them to further their education and develop their abilities through a variety of means, such as classroom leadership training, conferences, and seminars, and online technology courses. The employee will profit from updating their already remarkable toolkit, and the company will reap the rewards of increased productivity and success as a result. Make learning the norm and provide courses tailored to the needs of professionals at all stages of their careers.
- Analyse Your Company’s Termination Practices
When an employer wants to get rid of an elderly employee, they may offer them a pay-out to retire early. Employees rarely refuse such lucrative offers. There is no guarantee that a corporation will not fire an employee notwithstanding their refusal of a retirement package and the choice to retire. Some companies also try to implement a mandatory retirement age, which is against the law. However, only a small number of occupations, such as law enforcement and firefighting, can legally enforce a required retirement age.
Moreover, layoffs occur in organizations of all sizes. However, age discrimination may be proven if the employer solely fires those over 40 years of age. Due to the legal ramifications of layoffs, most corporations wisely choose to spread out the layoffs over a larger pool of employees by also letting go of some of the younger employees.
For businesses, employment law compliance is an essential and ever-changing concern. Working with our experienced employment law attorneys at the Walsh Law Firm LLC is a smart move to ensure your company is compliant with local and federal laws on age discrimination and seek the advice your company needs to avoid age discrimination in the workplace. You can contact our experienced employment law attorneys here.