What is age discrimination and who does it impact?
Age discrimination is a very relevant topic today and therefore must be understood by the recruiting industry. Age discrimination in the workplace refers to the unfair practice of hiring, firing, promoting, and other benefits being determined solely by somebody’s age. Age discrimination more commonly affects older workers who feel they have been discriminated against in favor of younger workers. In fact, studies have shown that there are stereotypes about older workers being less flexible and not as motivated as younger workers. These stereotypes are of course unfounded, but exist, nonetheless.
The number of age discrimination lawsuits have increased over the past few years, and that trend may continue with the baby boomer population surpassing millennials. These cases are hard to prove since age discrimination can occur subtlety, and the plaintiffs do bear the entire burden of proving age discrimination.
How to ensure age discrimination does not affect you or your company
Recruiters and employers have to be careful to avoid any discriminating activities because (1) it’s just wrong, and (2) can harm a company on multiple fronts. However, there is a straight forward way to prevent discrimination and claims that discrimination took place. Documentation and employee access to that documentation.
Ensure all of the following are clearly documented and accessible:
- Job Ads
- Hiring policies
- Job Descriptions
- Benefit packages
- Pathways to promotions
- Complaint and response procedures
- Disciplinary action processes
- Reasons for immediate terminations
These documents should be reviewed and approved by an HR professional or employment attorney. In addition, it’s just good practice to have them in place as they strengthen a company overall. Therefore, they should be in place to prevent liability, and to solidify the infrastructure of any organization.
Age discrimination is a real and prevalent issue in today’s healthcare workplace. Hiring, firing, and everything in between should be based on merit and company objectives. In conclusion, age diversity in a healthcare setting can be a valuable asset, and should be viewed as such.