Age Discrimination Details

The term ageism, first coined by Robert Neil Butler, describes discrimination against people of a certain age, especially older individuals. Robert Butler pointed out the discriminatory behavior towards older people in work organizations and institutional practices and policies.

Age discrimination is commonly noticed in workplaces where employees and applicants are treated less favorably because of their age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects the rights of people over the age of 40. Some states use this act to protect the interests of younger workers too. This act prohibits any employment acts like hiring, firing, lay-offs, and benefits based on the employee or applicant's age.

Age discrimination in the workplace can cause harassment, leading to a hostile or offensive work environment. Harassment is considered offensive or derogatory remarks about someone's age. The harasser can be anyone in the workplace ranging from the victim's supervisor, colleague, clients, or customers.

Real World Example of Age Discrimination

There have been several instances of age discrimination in the field of cinema. Celebrities have spoken up repeatedly about the lack of diversity in race, gender, and age in Hollywood. In a 2005 interview, Pierce Brosnan stated that ageism was one of the major contributing factors for why he was not asked to continue his role as James Bond in the Bond Film Series.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, an award-winning actress, once stated in an interview that a producer told her that she was "too old" for a role—the love interest of a 55-year-old man. She was only 37 years old at that time. In a recent magazine interview, Jennifer Aniston mentioned that she gets offended by people who compliment her by stating that she looks good for her age.

Madonna, an immensely popular singer, stated in an interview that she struggles with people's behavior towards her as she has grown older. She mentioned that she is fighting ageism after turning 60. After winning the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Award, Nicole Kidman used her acceptance speech to shed light on the struggles she and her colleagues go through as actresses after reaching a certain age.

Types of Age Discrimination

Implicit ageism refers to the thoughts, feelings, and judgments that an individual develops without conscious awareness. Upbringing and personal experiences can form such preemptive feelings towards older people. These feelings can be both positive and negative, although they are usually negative.

Government ageism refers to government policies that are unfair to younger generations. According to a Forbes study, half of the yearly US budget will be spent on older adults over the next ten years. An increase in unfunded health and retirement benefits will eventually create a burden on the younger working-class generation in the form of taxes.

Digital ageism refers to the discrimination faced by senior citizens in the digital world. It is prevalent in cultural representations of elderly people in the digital format. Visual ageism refers to the misrepresentation of older people, often in a discriminatory manner.