Here are five examples of how and where age bias affects employees:
1. Age bias outside of tech
The tech industry has been stereotyped as work for younger generations, and sure enough, we have seen numerous examples of tech companies or tech jobs being filled by younger workers while older workers are baselessly pushed out. This kind of age bias, however, is by no means limited to the tech industry or IT jobs. Layoffs and downsizing continue to impact older, long-tenured employees at high rates and new management often finds problems with older employees who have successfully performed their jobs for years. Age discrimination occurs across the American workplace, regardless of industry.
2. Age discrimination in nonprofits
While there are great nonprofits to work for, just because an organization has a good mission doesn’t mean it is going to be a good place to work. Nonprofit organizations are subject to the same employment laws as everyone else and we see them run afoul of these laws all the time; age discrimination is no exception.
3. Age discrimination by older employees
It’s not just the young managers who engage in age bias: older ones do too. Employers and their counsel, seemingly unaware of this, love to point to the age of the decision maker – who was as old or older than the terminated or passed over employee – to claim that age didn’t play a role in the decision. This excuse is no excuse: under Minnesota law, age can play no factor in a material employment decision, no matter who the decision maker is or how old they are.
4. Age discrimination in healthcare
Healthcare professionals can have long, successful careers. Other healthcare professionals come into the field as their second career or adjust the focus of their practice after years in the field. Regardless of the reason, healthcare professionals often continue to work late into their lives and often continue to perform well. Whenever you have older employees in the workplace, like in healthcare, eventually and unfortunately age bias has a tendency to sneak in.
5. Age bias against younger workers
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination against employees who are 40 years or older. The Minnesota Human Rights Act, on the other hand, protects all Minnesota employees from age discrimination, regardless of age. In other words, in Minnesota, it is against the law to use age as a factor in employment decisions for any aged worker. This means that it violates the law to hire applicants because they are older.
At Schaefer Halleen, we have seen seemingly well-intentioned employers making illegal age-biased decisions for years. If you believe your employer has subjected you to this prohibited conduct, please contact our age discrimination lawyer in Minnesota and we would be happy to discuss the issue with you.