How Should HR People Handle Age Discrimination in a Company

By hrlineup | 02.01.2020

Persons at the age of 40 and above are well protected by the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act against prohibited discrimination in the workplace. This law offers protection against discrimination in recruiting and hiring practices, pay, benefits, training, promotions, discipline and mandatory retirement. Being the department that is responsible for reinforcing company policies and maintaining proper employee relations according to the law, the HR department is mandated to handle issues as well as prevent any kind of age discrimination in the organizations they represent. There are methods that HR managers can employ so as to detect age discrimination before there are adverse effects for the employees or the business in general.

  1. They should familiarize themselves with indirect manifestations of age discriminations so as to know when discrimination is about to happen. HRs should understand that days are gone when people could make clear remarks that indicate age biasness in workplaces. They should therefore watch out for faint indications in the ways that employees of different generations are interacting. Look out for any form of patronization or veiled sarcasm as this could indicate age biasness between staff members of a certain age over another of a different age group.
  2. Take time to find out how different employees in different age groups feel about working together. Ask direct questions albeit individually or even privately to find out if they feel some kind of biasness towards them or if they feel that they have a certain bias toward any of their coworkers. From their findings, HR managers can now know how to handle age discrimination at work to get ahead of any situations. This ensures that the organization is free of any form of age discrimination and that all employees are well protected.
  3. HRs should ensure that everyone in the organization knows that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 was enacted to protect workers against any kind of age discrimination. Let them know that age bias is an actionable offense that may be pursued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It is important for everyone to know that if an employee is found guilty of the offense, he and the company will be held liable and that adea employment action can be taken.
  4. HRs should not just focus on the older generations, thinking that age discrimination is mainly perpetrated against those. There are instances where younger employees are discriminated against especially when working with and under older managers. It is important to pay attention across all age groups to find out if there is a possibility of age discrimination against any employee, whether young or old.

HRs are mandated with the responsibility of developing clear organization policies that reflect business philosophy and those that specify actions for enforcement on age discrimination. By understanding how to handle age discrimination in workplaces, HR managers are able to protect all employees, whether old or young, against discrimination for the overall good of the business.