How Age Bias Hurts Business

These days, people who wouldn’t dream of making racial and ethnic slurs can be heard agreeing with ageist comments and laughing at jokes about older people.

The workplace is not free of these attitudes. According to a 2009 survey of workers and job seekers between the ages of 55 and 70, 43 percent of those who were currently seeking work or who had retired because they could not find work said the main problem was “they could not find an employer who would hire someone their age.” Nearly a quarter of all charges brought to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year claimed discrimination on the basis of age. Nevertheless, ageism—discrimination on the basis of age—is a diversity issue that employers in the United States are only beginning to understand.

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