The Most Common Age Stereotypes in the Workplace


Posted by: Chris

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who are over the age of 40. This law was enacted to protect older workers, who are often targeted by employers due to common stereotypes about people over the age of 40. Even though this law was passed over 50 years ago, many of these stereotypes still exist and affect older workers. Here’s a look at some of the most common age stereotypes in the workplace:

Older Workers Are Not Tech Savvy

Many employers are still under the impression that older workers are not as tech savvy as younger employees. These employers believe that older workers are not interested in learning how to use new technology, so they won’t be as innovative or able to adapt in a rapidly changing work environment. But, this stereotype is simply not true. In fact, one study found that older workers are actually more comfortable with using technology in the workplace than younger workers.

Older Employees Are Not Productive

People often associate aging with slowing down, so they assume that older workers will be less productive. However, this is not the case. Older employees tend to have more experience and be knowledgeable about their work. As a result, they are able to quickly make decisions and solve problems, whereas younger workers may need to spend more time figuring out what to do. 

Older Workers Will Quit or Retire Soon

Employers argue that training or investing in older workers is not wise since many of them will leave their job soon anyways. But, data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that workers between the ages of 45 and 54 typically stay in the same position for twice as long as workers between the ages of 25 to 34. This is yet another stereotype that is used to discriminate against older workers and deny them of valuable career opportunities.

Older Employees Get Sick More Often

It’s true that people develop more health problems as they age, but it’s not true that older workers take a lot of time off of work to deal with these issues. One study found that workers over the age of 45 took an average of 3.1 sick days a year, whereas workers between the ages of 17 and 44 took an average of 3.8 sick days a year. This is not a significant difference, but it’s enough to show that there is no truth behind this stereotype.

Even though these stereotypes are not true, many employers still use them to justify their discriminatory practices. If you have been discriminated against because of your age, please call Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. today. Call our office at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.