The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people over the age of 40 from discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, termination, salary, job assignments, and so on.

According to the EEOC, fifty years after the passage of ADEA, one in every four discrimination claims is still based on ageism.

Do you want to avoid becoming a statistic and becoming embroiled in a costly claim? Use these suggestions to help prevent age discrimination in your workplace.

Ensure that your workforce is diversified

Hiring managers have a predisposition to hire people that are similar to them, frequently without realizing it. This can be a problem if it becomes evident that people are chosen solely on how well they’d fit in socially with your team rather than their qualifications for a specific job.

You must avoid this at all costs. Put certain checks and balances in place to ensure that new personnel is hired for the best of reasons.

If you have a manager who says they’ve opted not to hire a candidate because they don’t believe they’d be a suitable cultural match, check your manager’s explanation of what that implies.

There is a significant difference between making a decision based on facts (such as shown job skills) and making a decision based on assumptions (such as presuming older workers do not want to collaborate with their younger counterparts).

Be careful with job descriptions

When searching for soft skills needed to fill a role, you must be careful how you describe such skills. Using adjectives like “young,” “energetic,” “fresh-minded,” or “tech-savvy” in a job description, or labeling a position as “ideal for a stay-at-home parent,” for example, might be considered discriminatory.

Consider using phrases like “motivated,” “driven,” or “committed” to portray a candidate’s passion and work ethic without implying that they must be young to execute needed activities. Better yet, instead of determining what type of individual would be most suited for the role, explain it in vivid detail.

Design your job application procedure with consideration

On your job applications, what information is necessary to collect?

Is it vital, for example, to have a complete job history dating back to the earliest of time? Is it really important to know their high school or college graduation year?

Instead, be more detailed with your inquiries on job applications and in interviews. A good question would be, “Do you have sufficient years of experience in this field?”, or “Are you able to use this piece of software?”

Don’t request information that isn’t absolutely necessary. If an application or employee files an age discrimination case, the evidence can be utilized to establish that your hiring manager was aware of the candidate’s age and that it negatively affected their hiring decision.

For example, straying slightly off subject during an interview can land you in hot water because it can expose information about the candidate’s age. Even seemingly harmless information, such as the ages of a person’s children or grandchildren, might be harmful. In an EEOC lawsuit, a candidate could state, “This is how they found out about my age,” or “This question came up during my interview.”

Keep in mind that if candidate information is only required for background screening, it can be gathered later in the recruiting process when the actual screening is completed.

To avoid getting into trouble, get advice from a person who is an expert on the subject matter. A reputable background screening and recruiting service provider can assist you in staying on track throughout the process. They can help you with the following:

  • Avoid obvious errors, such as asking for an applicant’s birth date right away.
  • Use a range of recruiting tools to ensure a varied pool of applicants.
  • Create an application that doesn’t collect unnecessary data.
  • To ensure consistency, create organized interview guides in which all applicants are asked identical questions.
  • Train interviewers to ask the right questions and steer clear of off-topic discussions.
  • Establish hiring criteria and document how judgments were made to assist you to defend every employment decision.
  • Follow proper background screening methods, including state-by-state recommendations.

Stay away from stereotypes

Don’t assume that an employee will be unable to keep up with shifting industry trends or with new technology. Discrimination claims might arise from making assumptions based on age. Many elderly workers are eager to take on new challenges and learn new technologies.

Getting training on subconscious biases, and discrimination and harassment training can be extremely beneficial in preventing this type of unacceptable behavior. Employees should be informed of the ADEA and its requirements.

Also, make sure you have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment. This should serve as a set of guidelines and expectations for inclusivity. Everyone, regardless of age, should be treated fairly. Leaders must hold people responsible if they fail to meet those standards.

Recognize the retirement guidelines

You can’t just assume that someone is ready for retirement because they are older.

Workers today commonly stay in their occupations well after the Social Security retirement age since we are living longer and jobs are less physically demanding.

Employees cannot be forced to retire in most cases. It’s also forbidden to inquire about a worker’s retirement plans.

Keep an eye on what you say

Obviously, you should refrain from referring to your employee as “old,” but you must go further. You must also refrain from making derogatory remarks about yourself. Some people might also be offended when they hear terms like “old-fashioned” or “back in the day”. You may think you’re joking when you say these things, but your comments can make older workers feel discriminated against.

By eliminating statements like these, you can create a welcoming environment for all employees.

Enjoy the advantages of a non-discriminatory workplace

Over 20,000 EEOC lawsuits for age discrimination were submitted last year. Often, these cases resulted in large monetary payouts that could have been avoided with little knowledge and effort. After all, you don’t want to miss out on a huge and brilliant pool of people. Hire and retain the best personnel available, regardless of age, if you want your firm to be as successful as possible.

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