We Fight For Employee Rights

Psychology professor addresses age discrimination

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2021 | Workplace Discrimination

Employers often say that they value things like wisdom and experience in workers, while also devaluing the other factor that often comes along with these things — age. Older workers face more barriers in the workplace when it comes to being hired, maintaining their current positions, and securing things like promotions and raises. Age discrimination is not necessarily uncommon in New Jersey, either.

An argument against age discrimination

Psychology professor Lissa Finkelstein recently published a book detailing her research on age discrimination. The book and research were both personal for her, as she witnessed her father eventually lose his job to age discrimination in the 1990s. Just a few takeaways from her nearly three decades of research include that workers tend to build the following with age:

  • Experience
  • Wisdom
  • Emotional regulation

Finkelstein’s book also points out that things like performance and productivity are not tied to age. However, stereotypes about different generations tend to fuel the idea that age is a significant factor in how well a worker will perform. Employers who continue to perpetuate stereotypes about Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers are fueling discrimination and often creating environments that lack age diversity.

Although workers of all ages can be treated poorly because of age, workers over the age of 40 are at a higher risk for discrimination. Victims of age discrimination often suffer both financially and emotionally, and may struggle to secure new employment in the future. In Rhode Island, discrimination victims have the option to pursue legal action against their employers. When successful, these legal claims can both secure necessary compensation while also influencing real change in the workplace.