After surveying 400 full-time professionals ages 40 and up, the 2019 Hiscox Ageism in the Workplace Study found 21% had personally faced age discrimination in the workplace, while 44% said they or someone they knew had. “Ageism creates a range of hazards for employers, including discrimination lawsuits, demotivated employees and the lost opportunity costs associated with devaluing older workers,” Hiscox wrote. The study found only 40% of those who experienced discrimination filed a charge or complaint and, of this subset, less than half filed a complaint with a state or local agency or the EEOC.
Even with this low rate of reporting, the EEOC has seen a notable increase in charges filed over age discrimination—charges by workers 65 and older doubled between 1990 and 2017, with 18,376 age-related charges filed in 2017. Hiscox noted that training and educating employees about ageism can help reduce discrimination and increase reporting, providing an “early warning system” for employers to fight signs of age bias promptly.