What is agism in the workplace?

What is agism in the workplace?

Agism is when people undergo discriminatory treatment based on their age. In the workplace, agism can occur when an employer makes inferences and handles an employee differently because of how old they are, which is illegal in Ontario.

For example, if a worker is perceived “too old” for a position, the employer might indicate that they won’t have the desired eagerness they expect for their current workplace culture and not hire them. Further, it is also a representation of agism, if an employer gives a new hire less work because it is assumed they cannot meet the physical demands of the job.

These inferences are considered discriminatory because the assumptions exclude the candidate instead of finding an inclusive strategy. This kind of behaviour can be displayed in independent workplaces, however, agism is commonly represented across professional culture.

How are employees protected?

The Ontario Human Rights Code protects workers over the age of 18 from age discrimination by outlining that all employees must have the same opportunities, no matter their age.

An employer cannot choose to reject employment or training, relegate, decline promotions, or push for retirement because of age. The Code also prohibits employers who are downsizing or restructuring to single out older employees.

This type of discrimination is not just relevant when the employee is hired, it is also applicable during any hiring practices. As stated in the previous example, choosing to decline an application because of anything age related will be considered discriminatory in the court. It is the responsibility of all employers to ensure every employee (or potential employee) feels included and respected.

If you are an employee experiencing differential treatment because of your age, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.