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What age discrimination means for older women in the workplace

Discrimination in the workplace is not uncommon and can stem from many factors including differences in race, religious preference, political affiliation, gender and age. In Washington, D.C., older people who desire to continue their employment or go back to work are often faced with judgments from their younger counterparts who may discredit qualifications based on age.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age discrimination is when someone treats an applicant or employee unfairly based on biases associated with age. By definition, older workers are a class of people who are aged 40 and above. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act provides protection for this class and forbids employers from making unfavorable decisions with reference to age, in job assignments and responsibilities, pay structure, and any of the other following situations:

  •          Training
  •          Promotion
  •          Hiring
  •          Termination
  •          Layoff
  •          Fringe benefits

The Washington Post suggests that older women face increased scrutiny because they must deal with judgmental opinions related to both their age and their gender. Research using fictional applications and workers revealed that people aged 49 to 51 received 18 percent less callbacks than their younger counterparts, and workers aged 64 to 66 received 35 percent less callbacks. However, those percentages were even higher for a pool of only female applicants at 29 percent for women ages 49 to 51, and 47 percent for women ages 64 to 66.

Because research has proven that women generally live longer than men, continued employment is integral for many women to maintain independence. With potential difficulties looming because of age and gender, biased discrimination could uncertainly affect the overall quality of life for many women.

 

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