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How to Handle Comments About Your Age at Work, AARP

How to Handle Comments About Your Age at Work, AARP

Jokes and other remarks from coworkers could be warning signs of discrimination

Sally Culley, a partner in the Orlando office of RumbergerKirk, shared suggestions for handling potentially harmful or discriminatory remarks about age from coworkers or supervisors in AARP’s “Work and Jobs” on March 2, 2023.

More than one-third of workers may begin experiencing age-related comments before age 45, according to a 2019 survey from one career website. Culley discusses that while these might be brushed off as “just jokes,” they’re still not appropriate in the workplace.

“Ageist jokes are not appropriate in the workplace, though they often seem innocuous enough and the person making the joke may not have bad intentions at heart,” she says. “Often this type of behavior can be shut down with a firm ‘I don’t think jokes about my age are funny.’ ”

She further discusses how individuals should handle comments if they continue to occur in the workplace.

“If conduct continues, review the company’s policies about age and discrimination issues, Culley explains. “If there are no policies that address the reporting of discrimination issues, then the concerns should be raised with a supervisor, manager or HR professional.”

She reminds employers to be “intentional about valuing the contributions of all employees and encouraging collaboration with one another.”

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