Some older women in Texas may be facing age discrimination at even higher rates than men. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that as they age, women may face both age and sex discrimination, and the increased focus on a woman's appearance compared to that of an older man may increase the likelihood of discrimination. Furthermore, although the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 makes it illegal to discriminate against people who are 40 and over in the workplace, it can be difficult to prove.
For example, companies may claim that cost-cutting measures are leading them to lay off employees, including some older ones. Some people may not pursue an age discrimination claim because they anticipate this difficulty in proof. They might also worry that such a claim will result in retaliation and make it difficult for them to find another job.
There are several things older workers can do to protect themselves. They should know their worth and communicate it regularly to their superiors. They should also help their managers realize their value and help them reach their goals. Examining their own assumptions about age and building cross-generational networks in the workplace may also challenge others' assumptions about aging. Finally, people should document any age-related jokes, remarks or other references in the workplace.
This documentation may help people if they do need to pursue an age discrimination claim. People should also be aware of the possibility of retaliation if they complain to a manager or human resources about perceived age discrimination and document any incidents of this as well. A person who plans to use workplace channels to address discrimination issues in the workplace may still want to consult an attorney first to talk about employee rights, how to proceed and what to do if the workplace response is inappropriate.