Age discrimination is a serious problem in the employment world. New Jersey and federal laws protect workers from adverse employment actions based on age. A recent study indicates that age discrimination might often be another form of discrimination in disguise. According to the National Economic Bureau of Research, women are substantially more likely to be discriminated against based on age than men. The study suggested that age discrimination is largely another way to penalize female workers.
This is hardly a unique scenario. Sexual harassment and violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can affect male and female employees. They just tend to be directed more frequently at working women. I guess we can add age discrimination to the pay gap and glass ceilings in discussing all the ways women get the short end of the stick in the working world.
Discrimination against female candidates based on age starts at an earlier age than it does for men. The study did not find evidence for significant age discrimination in men before they turned 51. The discrepancy between the treatment of male and female candidates only got worse as the age of the applicant rose. Again, this is not to say that men are never the victims of age discrimination. The study just shows that women are more likely to be penalized for their age than men.
Age bias in hiring practices can be difficult to detect. The law does not do an adequate job of protecting older workers from this form of discrimination. As the study shows, ageism is a common problem particularly affecting female workers.
Source: Bloomberg Business, “Women Face Age Discrimination Earlier and More Often Than Men,” by Rebecca Greenfield, 27 October 2015