Finding a job is never easy. Keeping a job, especially one that has been hard sought, should be easier and much more enjoyable that the job search. For some, the experience of the job search may seem much better than the actual job, especially when in a workplace that doesn’t seem positive or supportive. Even worse is when age discrimination is affecting the job and performance of the employee. Once thought only to affect those over 40, the newest generation to enter the workforce, the Millennial Generation, is experiencing discrimination as well.
The Millennial Generation, or Generation Y, is defined as those born between the early 1980s to the year 2000. The landscape of the American workforce is changing as this generation enters the job market. This is the first generation to have always known the world of technology, most growing up with computers in the home and being some of the first adaptors of social media. This generation is also described as being digital natives, comfortable and current with all types of technology and their uses. This comfort and ability to learn new technologies is a highly desired trait in the modern workplace.
However, many in the Millennial Generation are also stereotyped with negative attributes such as narcissism, an inability to handle failure or critical feedback, and delayed in the transition from childhood and college lifestyle to adulthood. Of course such stereotypes often become the basis for age discrimination in the workplace. Such perceptions and beliefs may prevent an interview or job offer. Once in the workplace, the Millennial may find that these stereotypes and potentially misplaced perceptions may create an unfair playing field or discrimination from coworkers.
If age discrimination is suspected, it is important to seek legal information, advice, or counsel. Age discrimination is a very serious workplace problem that can be difficult to pinpoint or define because it can be so subtle. And along with subtle, it is very serious. Age discrimination is so detrimental to the workplace that in 1967 the US Government passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, to protect workers from ageism. Regardless of who suspects ageism in the workplace, it is important to address the issue.
Knowing that age discrimination can be difficult to pinpoint and is against federal law, seeking legal advice can protect all involved. Sometimes it may be the employer who suspects that age discrimination is at play amongst the employees, say creating a less than friendly working environment or discriminating without cause against a Millennial employee. Other times it may be the employee who senses that age and generational stereotypes are creating an unfriendly workplace.
Having a trusted law firm as part of the company’s partners is key to ensuring that measures are in place to not only stop ageism at work, but even to prevent it. Staying current on age discrimination cases, changes to the law, and behaviors that may be constituted as such helps a business ensure a productive and legal case free work environment. As the employee, having a trusted attorney to take such concerns is equally as important, as preventing or stopping such behavior can lead to a long and healthy career track.