How to Prove Age Discrimination in Hiring Process: 15 Steps to Take in 2023

The number of people registering for unemployment benefits in the United States is at an all-time high. While that is unlikely to change anytime soon, the economy and job market will need to be revived after this pandemic is over. This is why we will discuss ways how to prove age discrimination in the hiring process.

Millions of Americans will be seeking employment at that point. Age discrimination in hiring is unavoidable when there are that many applicants. 

A University of Tulane study investigated the prevalence of age discrimination in hiring. According to the study, three similarly qualified applicants received various job offers based on their ages. 

For over 13,000 job postings, the study submitted more than 40,000 resumes. Significantly fewer offers were made to those who represented the oldest age group.

In this article, we have compiled some tips on how to prove age discrimination in the hiring process. 

What is Age Discrimination?

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), age discrimination is when someone is treated less favorably because of their age. Anyone can experience age discrimination in the hiring process, but the federal government sets a minimum age of 40. 

However, certain state laws do encompass discrimination against younger workers. Federal regulations say giving someone over 40 preferential treatment is not against the law.

Age bias can take many different forms. Hiring, compensation, job assignments, promotions, firing, layoffs, training, benefits, and other employment aspects can all be subject to illegal discrimination. 

Age-based harassment is also prohibited and may happen. According to the EEOC, harassment includes “frequent or severe” taunting or remarks that foster an objectionable or hostile work atmosphere.

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What Are the Age Discrimination Laws?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), passed as federal legislation in 1967, is the primary regulation against age discrimination in hiring. The purpose of the statute is to shield “older workers” from age restrictions and discrimination. 

The law does not permit employers to discriminate against, impose the segregation of, or lower the pay of anyone based on their age.

Additionally, labor unions and employment firms must abide by the law. For individuals who breach the ADEA’s rules, there is a $500 maximum punishment and a year maximum in prison.

Working alongside a younger employee, but in 2019, Congress approved the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA). 

According to CNBC, this regulation eliminates the need for those who allege age discrimination in hiring to demonstrate that their age was the primary determining factor in their employer’s choice to recruit, terminate, or discipline an employee.

A man claimed age discrimination in 2009, but the Supreme Court rejected his claim because he couldn’t demonstrate that his age was the only factor in his employer’s decision. By overturning that ruling, POWADA would make it simpler for claimants to demonstrate discrimination.

15 Steps to Prove Age Discrimination in the Hiring Process

The disparate treatment theory requires some steps to be taken to establish age discrimination in hiring. In order to proceed, you must first show that you were at least 40 years old at the time of the prejudice. 

Then, you must demonstrate that you are otherwise entirely qualified for the job. The next step is to prove that they subjected you to a demotion or other adverse employment action. Finally, you will need to demonstrate that your age influenced your employer’s (or potential employer’s) choice.

You only need to identify the precise activity that has an adverse effect on those 40 years of age or older to demonstrate age discrimination based on the disparate impact theory.  

Here are ways to help ensure inclusive recruiting and hiring processes to avoid age discrimination of candidates.

  • Evaluate the current work environment for ageism.
  • Assess the inclusivity of the workplace for all ages.
  • Look at the perks available to employees.
  • Optimize the company’s brand.
  • Check for inclusive language on job postings.
  • Provide better resources for older employees.
  • Hold events that appeal to all ages.
  • Structure the interview process to decrease bias.
  • Talk to recruiters about ageism.
  • Communicate with other leaders about ageism.
  • Use a ‘blind’ process.
  • Don’t put a cap on experience.
  • Track age as a diversity metric 
  • Make use of referrals.
  • Focus on skills, not specific technology.

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1. Evaluate the current work environment for ageism

An evaluation of the current state of the corporate culture should be the first step for leadership. Businesses can publish an anonymous poll asking workers about their experiences.

They should include everything from hiring to promotions and resignations in this. Business executives can now start being open about the areas that require change.

These types of workplace evaluations should shed light on ineffective procedures. From this point, businesses can directly get specifics about any potential age prejudice from the source.

You can avoid these situations in the hiring process by making wiser business decisions.

2. Assess the inclusivity of the workplace for all ages

Being as considerate of others as you can is important. All age groups have different needs for a high quality of life. In order to counteract ageism, you may add more inclusive resources.

Businesses should be more understanding of the restrictions brought on by age. Training in age awareness might aid in ideating the most effective means of fostering diversity in the workplace.

An excellent way to promote inclusion is by providing equipment for people with hearing or vision impairments. Other employers might add additional flexible work arrangements upon request.

3. Look at the perks available to employees

Comprehensive benefit packages improve workplace culture and boost worker output. No of their age, great talent is attracted to recruiting by the correct rewards. A company’s benefits reflect the importance it gives to its principles.

They can reduce ageism in hiring by offering benefits that are relevant to all employees. A wonderful illustration is comprehensive healthcare, which can provide for dependents in the second generation.

Additionally, healthcare coverage for medical expenses or prescription costs is available to people of all ages.

Assistance with adoption could be added as yet another perk for workers. The typical family adopting a child is 44 years old, and more people in their 50s are considering adoption.

They ought to be given the same consideration and assistance as conventional parents.

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4. Optimize the company’s brand

An organization’s brand directly affects how the public views them. A company’s products might appear more capable and reliable with the correct brand image. As a result, more qualified candidates will flood job postings.

Looking online is where you should start. In fact, 61% of job searchers visit the company website before applying. They gain a better understanding of potential job locations as a result.

Candidates want to learn about these organizations’ identities, missions, and activities. Visiting a website with a lot of explicit language and young people’s pictures may have an effect on their choice.

They have a sense of alienation from the company as a result, which hurts a company’s reputation. 

5. Check for inclusive language on job postings

The appropriate language reflects how potential employees view a company in all business areas. A well-written, inclusive job posting can make or break public perception.

The first impression is crucial because they are probably the first place a person learns or encounters information about a firm.

In terms of years of experience, it is reasonable for a job posting to list minimum requirements.

We introduce here the possibility of age discrimination through exclusionary rules. This may appear as “at least 3, but no more than 10 years of experience with CRM.”

6. Provide better resources for older employees

Workers should have access to the resources supplied to them whenever they need them. Their primary objective is to promote a more inclusive and diverse workplace.

These organizations seek to provide a secure environment for members of specific minority groups. Employers should be prepared to speak out as age-related employee resource groups increase.

It is inexpensive to offer resources for age-related programming to a business. They can assist with various topics, including retirement, money, health, and eldercare. The AARP’s Back to Work 50+ program is a perfect illustration.

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7. Hold events that appeal to all ages

They foster a more inclusive corporate culture by providing for the community’s needs. Festivities, events, and seminars are excellent illustrations of neighborhood activities that might aid.

The issue is that all ages should attend these events. Events in prime time may deter families and senior citizens from attending.

Events that are inclusive boost worker happiness and draw in stronger applicants for a company. People with physical restrictions feel better about taking part in celebrations when they can participate.

To make the event as interesting as possible, carrying out a different kind of survey could be helpful.

8. Structure the interview process to decrease bias

Structured interviews aid in reducing the likelihood of prejudice. In these interviews, all candidates are subjected to identical questions. This makes it easier to compare workers’ abilities using only their skills and experience.

Creating a hiring committee may also be helpful. Businesses should hire three experts from diverse cultural, racial, and age groupings.

Together, they can aid in promoting justice. Depending on the position, they will ask each candidate the same questions and use the same examples.

This makes recruiting easier and more affordable. Recruiters can accomplish the most by staying on topic and conducting the hiring process effectively. They do this without prejudice and only pay attention to a person’s qualifications.

9. Talk to recruiters about ageism

The process of optimizing the workplace and the interviewing procedures has already started. They have made any ageist undertones clear to the company.

Therefore, this is an excellent moment to discuss interviewers’ best techniques with them openly. Recruiters shouldn’t harbor any prejudices against particular racial or ethnic groups. They shouldn’t choose one candidate over another in this situation solely on their age.

They can receive training to assist them in comprehending what these prejudices might entail. Also, they can seek support with language and other materials that might present outdated stereotypes.

This beneficial training aids in reducing further potential preconceptions during the hiring process.

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10. Communicate with other leaders about ageism

Leadership positions benefit equally from training and direction, as do recruiters. Higher-ups lay the groundwork for the organization’s beliefs and ideals.

The more effectively they convey these philosophies, the more reliable the company appears to be.

Management should all sign up for various bias education courses. These ought to illustrate the various discriminatory practices that are communicated unintentionally. 

Furthermore, they should cover all types of discrimination in training. Also, they may include age, gender, race, religion, and other factors.

11. Use a ‘blind’ process

Eliminating all bias from the employment process is arguably the simplest way to stop workplace ageism.

To be completely honest, that is what we at Applied do. We created a blind hiring platform that strips applications of all identifying information and substitutes a predictive, anonymous assessment for resumes. 

Instead of a mountain of CVs, employers evaluate candidates’ responses to “work samples” or questions tailored to the position to gauge how they would think and behave in it.

12. Don’t put a cap on experience

Years of experience are less crucial than you might assume, believe it or not.

This meta-study claims that education and experience don’t actually have predictive ability. 

It cannot be very safe to consider eliminating all experience requirements, which is perfectly understandable. 

However, suppose you wish to counteract age discrimination in hiring. In that case, you should ensure that there is no maximum number of years, as this signals that anyone with more experience than that would fall into the dreaded “overqualified” category.

13. Track age as a diversity metric 

The same rule applies to recruiting for diversity: you can’t alter what you can’t assess.

Data collection on diversity should be done if you’re serious about combating ageism.

If you can identify the demographic drop-off points, you can focus on those points and see if questions or tasks are disadvantageous to a particular group.

You must include this in the questions you ask candidates if you want to prevent ageism finally.

Make careful to explain to applicants why this information is gathered and that it will never use them in aggregate.

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14. Make use of referrals

Employee referrals should generally ‌be avoided when discussing diversity and discrimination.

This is so because candidates who have been referred often share the referrer’s demographics.

You can, however, take advantage of this.

To increase the age variety of your initial candidate pool, consider asking any older coworkers or associates you already know to recommend individuals from their networks.

15. Focus on skills, not specific technology

It’s rather typical for job descriptions to include a long list of software applicants should know about.

While they may require some technologies for the position, most of them are probably just “nice-to-haves.”

Does the software even need to be mentioned if they can understand you quickly?

Instead, concentrate on the fundamental competencies needed for the position.

While they can learn most software, developing essential skills can take years.

Should You Hire an Age Discrimination Lawyer?

It’s challenging to prove age discrimination in the workplace – different forms of prejudice call for different evidence. As a result, you should get help from an age discrimination attorney if you believe that age discrimination in employment has occurred.

A lawsuit can be difficult to file; therefore, we have prepared the ground for you by linking you with qualified lawyers. Making a compelling argument with the assistance of an expert may increase your chances of receiving compensation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does ageism entail?

Ageism, commonly referred to as age discrimination, is the practice of discriminating against or categorizing someone based on their age.

When did ageism become forbidden in the UK?

The 2010 Equality Act lists age as a protected characteristic. It is therefore forbidden to treat people differently based on their age. On October 1, 2012, this law became operative.

How should you respond when asked your age in an interview?

Remember that the best course of action, if you sense that the interviewers have reservations about your age, is to use their inquiry as an opportunity to highlight your qualifications, skills, and experience and to persuade them that you are not only qualified but also possess all the other assets the company is looking for.

What does discrimination in an interview look like?

Furthermore, it is unlawful for an employer to ask a question that applies just to a certain set of persons. For instance, it is unfair and against the law for employers to inquire exclusively women about their family plans. Another illustration would be if interviewers only questioned candidates who were older about when they planned to retire.


In order to combat ageism in the workplace, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed in 1967.

However, job seekers over the age of 40 still deal with the effects of bias. It can be quite expensive for corporations to treat an individual unfavorably due to their age.

Discrimination against older workers cost firms $850 billion despite the rules in 2018. This might have appeared to be forced retirement or a loss of pay raise chances. Compared to their younger coworkers, some employees reported longer periods of unemployment or lower salaries.

Businesses need to review how they handle older workers at every stage of their careers. They need a full revamp to discover solutions starting with the employment procedure.



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