Combating ageism in your workplace

Despite what people might tell you, being older in your workplace doesn’t get any easier.

As the years pass by, chances are you’ll be discriminated against far more frequently. Your age might even lead to you being passed up for promotion or discarded from your company entirely. And all because of a few poxy years between you and your colleagues.

Indeed, ageism in the workplace reaches every strata of the population, with the BBC recently losing an employment tribunal against ex-Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly after sacking her purely on the basis of her advancing age.

While your autumn years might be beckoning, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be an effective part of the workforce. So, if you’re feeling discriminated against because of your age, here’s what you can do.

Seek professional advice

Your first port of call should be to seek the advice of professional employment solicitors who will let you know what your rights are and how you should proceed in a discrimination case.

Before visiting these bastions of legal knowledge, make sure you know the specifics of how your employer is mistreating you and, if possible, provide evidence to back up your claim.

Many solicitor websites even carry helpful blogs or knowledge centres to give you the full lowdown on what your rights are in any given situation, allowing you useful info without even leaving your computer.

Let you co-workers know the score

Nowadays, especially as labour unions have dissolved in the past three decades, an increasing number of workers aren’t familiar with their rights in the workplace and, in turn, don’t understand when they’re being exploited or discriminated against.

But, if you want a dispute settled in a peaceable way, you should let your co-workers know what both their and your rights are, giving them food for thought if you think they might be discriminating against you.

More than this, an entire workforce aware of its rights is more likely to stand up for one another and be more assertive in the workplace. So, let your colleagues know the score for a more harmonious environment.

Have a quiet word

You’ve all had bosses like this – the type with a vaguely inappropriate sense of humour who cackles at their own jokes at the expense of everyone else.

Some of them might have even made quips about your age. But if you’re passed up for promotion and feel like age could play a part, those jokes wouldn’t go down well when presented as evidence in a tribunal.

The solution? Have a quiet word with your boss to let them know where to draw the line. Not only will this save potential disputes in your workplace, it will show your employer that you aren’t willing to tolerate their lack of tolerance about your age.