In some cases, age discrimination is clear. For instance, if an employer states that they want to hire someone who is between 22 and 30 years old, that’s a clear case of discrimination since anyone over 40 is automatically excluded. It’s unfair for those workers not to have a chance to interview or a fair chance to get the job.
But don’t assume that things are going to be this obvious. Many employers try to hide discrimination. They may commit age discrimination without actually mentioning age, for instance.
Groups that tend to be the same age
An employer may be tempted to ask for a certain group of candidates who all tend to be the same age. But bringing up this specific group, they could be discriminating against those not in the group, even if there are no explicit ages mentioned.
A common example of this is if an employer looks to hire a new worker and says that they should be a “recent college graduate.” Age is not mentioned at all, but those who have recently graduated tend to be in their mid-20s. No one who is 45 and who graduated two decades ago would consider themselves a recent graduate. Therefore, they are being discriminated against by being told not to apply, despite the fact that you can find some graduates who are within that age bracket. The majority are not.
What can you do next?
Do you think that age discrimination has hampered your career in a serious way? Make sure you know what steps you can take to make things right.