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Know your rights and protect yourself against ageism

Ageism is a serious concern for many people who are aging. They want to continue working and getting promotions, to be seen and heard in their work environments. Unfortunately, with ageism, they may be treated differently because of their advancing ages.

It used to be said that with age comes knowledge, but today, technology and other changes occur so rapidly that the newest and brightest are often the apple of a company's eye. While an older worker is perfectly capable of being trained in new technology or work, the hiring of younger professionals becomes more common.

Why is ageism so serious?

Ageism is serious because it limits the options that older workers have. It can also mean that there are reasons to try to get rid of the workers. For example, to give a promotion to an up-and-coming employee, there has to be room higher up in the company. An older worker who is doing good work but likely not to continue to work there much longer could have their employment threatened as a way to make way for a younger employee's promotion. Other reasons that older workers are targets include having a lack of new skills and having a higher income from the company.

How can you limit the effect your age has on you in the workplace?

The answer to this varies based on your job, but a good rule is always to continue learning. If you continue to train in your 30s, 40s, 50s and on, you'll remain a valuable asset to the company. You don't want to have to train rapidly as you age to try to catch up with the competition.

If you are worried that you could be pushed out of your job, it's a good tip to start looking for a second, at least part-time, opportunity. That way, if you do get fired or have to fight a case against your company for ageism, you won't be completely without an income. Even if you don't earn as much as you would have in your typical company's employment, you want to have the option of working as your own boss or in other employment until you can get past this bump in the road.

Ageism is so serious that you can file a lawsuit if it happens to you. Don't let stereotypes about your age be the reason you have to leave a job: You deserve fair treatment.

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