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Clap Back at Ageism: Arm Yourself with the Law

Posted by Amber Boyd | Aug 16, 2023 | 0 Comments

Listen up, seasoned professionals! If you ever feel dismissed or passed over just because of the number of candles on your birthday cake, it's time to put a stop to that nonsense. Age discrimination has no place in today's multigenerational workforce. Let me dish out some wisdom on how to stand up for yourself and create change.

First, a quick primer on age discrimination...

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act says you can't be treated unfairly as an employee just for being 40 or older. That means you should have equal access to hiring, promotions, benefits, and other work perks, regardless of your age. Assumptions that more experienced workers are less energetic, tech-savvy, or able to take on big projects - yeah, those are totally bogus. Skills don't simply vanish after a certain birthday!

Some recent cases have helped fight back against ageism at work:

  • A Supreme Court ruling reinforced that in layoffs, employers need a solid reason beyond age when letting go of seasoned staff. No more cherry-picking older employees just to refresh the team.
  • Another decision said federal employees only need to prove that age was a factor, not the only one, in unfair treatment at work. Sneaky managers can't hide behind other excuses anymore.
  • When the EEOC sued Texas Roadhouse for always putting younger employees up front and older staff in the back, the company paid out $12 million! A hefty reminder that all organizations need to check their ageist attitudes.

So what can you do if you feel you're facing ageism? Arm yourself with knowledge and speak up!

First, accomplished professionals, don't let outdated assumptions limit your potential. Your skills and experience have only increased over the years. You have so much wisdom to offer - from institutional knowledge to mentoring younger colleagues. Own your worth with pride!

If you experience ageist comments or treatment, address it head on. Explain directly but respectfully how those attitudes perpetuate unfair stereotypes. Offer to host a training session on managing and motivating a multigenerational team. Suggest implementing a mentorship program that pairs younger and older workers. Proactively identifying solutions defeats the "older workers are set in their ways" myth.

Document any ongoing ageist behaviors, like being passed over for key projects, and discuss with HR. They should actively investigate and address the situation. If HR doesn't respond adequately, it may be time to consult an employment attorney.

Many accomplished professionals have pushed back against ageism, even taking legal action when needed, to shape better protections for older workers. Court cases have helped clarify the standards for proving age discrimination. Monetary settlements also send a strong message to employers that ageist practices can hit them where it hurts - their wallets!

You have the right to earn respect and opportunity based on your contributions, not misconceptions about age. By speaking up, you can be a trailblazer for a workplace culture that celebrates experience and ability over arbitrary factors like age. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself - you've got this!

You have the right to be valued for your experience, regardless of age. Together, we can reshape attitudes and policies to judge people on their merit, not their birthdate. So stand tall, accomplished professionals - your best contributions may still be ahead!

About the Author

Amber Boyd

Amber K. Boyd is a versatile professional with strong experience in managing complex litigation matters. She founded Amber K. Boyd Attorney at Law in 2013, where she is the sole practitioner. Ms. Boyd specializes in employment law with a focus on discrimination cases. She also has deep expertise ...


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