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Survey looks at workplace ageism toward men and women

Men and women in the San Francisco Bay area may experience ageism in the workplace at roughly equal rates. This was one of the findings of a survey by the website Fairygodboss, which asked 1,000 people who were older than 40 about workplace discrimination based on age.

Almost three-fourths of respondents said they had not encountered ageism at work at all. Among those who did, 13% of men and 12% of women believed they had been turned down for a job because of their age. Similar percentages of men and women experienced workplace ageism in the same way, with 12% of men and 10% of women saying a coworker had said something negative about their age. Other examples of ageism included being laid off and not being promoted because of age.

Many people, both men and women, began experiencing ageism before the age of 45. The next most common age group to experience it for the first time was 50-54. Despite this, just 4% of people said they had ever lied about their age. Women are more likely than men to color their hair, but equal percentages said they dressed differently or had plastic surgery to look younger. Nearly one-quarter said they had encountered stereotypes that older workers were less tech savvy or unwilling to learn new skills.

Employees who are 40 and older are protected against age discrimination at work by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Unfortunately, as is the case with many other forms of discrimination, this can be difficult to prove. An employer may argue that treatment of an employee is performance-based rather than discriminatory. Employees who are dealing with age discrimination may want to document all incidents and consult an attorney about how to proceed.

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