The Age Discrimination in Employment Act forbids employers from discriminating against workers who are 40 or older. While this law should ensure that older workers have equal opportunity with younger employers, unfortunately it can be a “difficult law to enforce,” according to U.S. News and World Report.
Many employees who are older report feeling as though they are passed over for job opportunities or promotions, and indicate that they believe employers are prejudiced against older workers. This has become an especially significant problem as technologies have advanced and as workers no longer stay with companies over the course of their whole careers but instead move around to different positions.
Tips for Combating Age Discrimination
While employees should never have to put up with age discrimination and should speak with employment discrimination lawyers if they believe they have been victimized, there are also some steps workers can take to reduce the chances they will be denied opportunities because of their advanced age. U.S. News offers several tips to older workers to help reduce the possibility they will lose out on work opportunities because they are older. These tips include:
- Staying current within the field. Workers should enhance and build upon their knowledge by taking training courses and taking advantage of new educational opportunities.
- Learning new technology. Employers expect everyone to have at least a working knowledge of many basic programs commonly used in offices, like Microsoft Word. Knowing about new technologies and being able to demonstrate that you can effectively work on computers with modern programs and operating systems is key to remaining relevant at work and to proving you are qualified when applying for new jobs.
- Becoming an expert in your field and an industry leader. Authoring articles in industry publications, speaking on local panels, and participating in professional conferences can help to make you a “thought leader.” Fostering online connections and even creating your own blog can also help you to showcase your knowledge in your industry. When you are viewed as a consummate expert and a skillful leader in your industry, your age is more likely to be seen as an advantage instead of as a disadvantage.
- Seeking out leadership roles. You should try to become a leader not just in the workplace, but also in your community. Serving on the board of local organizations and otherwise becoming a well-known leader in your community helps you demonstrate your skills and shows employers that you are still going to be a successful, dedicated, and inspirational manager.
- Maintaining a fresh network. Keep in regular contact with professionals within your field and don’t wait until you need help finding new opportunities to make professional connections. Ongoing communication helps to ensure that you keep a strong network who will be there to help you if you need to explore new employment opportunities.
- Developing broad experience. Demonstrate to your employers how your long work history and age can be an advantage as you have developed a wide variety of useful skills.
These are a few of the key ways you can try to turn age into an advantage. The responsibility to avoid discrimination, however, ultimately falls on employers and you can pursue legal action if your work opportunities are affected by your age.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Allen v. Chicago – Overtime Pay for Smartphone Use After-Hours, Aug. 10, 2015, Orange County Employment Attorney Blog