There are laws that protect against a range of types of discrimination. These laws seek to protect those who are most vulnerable to issues in the workplace that arise from bias and stereotypes. One type of discrimination law protects workers over the age of 40 from age discrimination.
You may wonder why age discrimination laws focus only on those age 40 and older and why they were ever necessary in the first place. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act came about as a result of lingering effects from the Great Recession.
At this time, there were issues in the job market. They led to many people losing their jobs. The group most at a disadvantage were older workers. Even in a good job market, it is older workers who face more problems than their younger counterparts due in part to employers believing stereotypes about age and abilities.
Older workers have a harder time finding a new job. They typically end up unemployed for longer periods than younger workers. They often cannot find a new job that is comparable to the one they lost. Furthermore, due to the increase in life span, many people are working long past what was once the standard age for retirement, so there is a need for protection against age discrimination.
How it helps
The ADEA helps by ensuring employers do not rely on stereotypes about older workers when making hiring or other employment decisions. It also prevents them from creating policies that will discriminate against older workers, such as forced retirement.
Plus, diversity in age within work environments is a good thing. It can make a workplace stronger and allow for a range of talents and knowledge.