Types of Age Discrimination


It has the ability to affect nearly everyone at some point in their lives---age discrimination. While many may think it can happen only to the elderly, age discrimination can happen to nearly anyone, given a certain set of circumstances. Understanding age discrimination, the ways it may manifest itself, and your rights are all keys to making sure you are protected against such practices.


  • Age discrimination occurs when someone is refused something that would normally be offered to them, simply on the basis of their age. In many cases, this may be hard to prove. Often, just the threat of a lawsuit may be enough to make the governing entity, often an employer or landlord, change their minds about the issue. Age discrimination can happen at any age, but when it happens to younger people, it is commonly referred to as reverse age discrimination and may not be subject to federal anti-discrimination laws; however, it may be covered under some state statutes.

Denying Employment

  • One of the most common types of age discrimination practices is denial of employment. If you believe you were not hired for a job based on your age, you may have a case. Proving this usually depends on being able to prove your experience and qualifications are far better than the candidate who was eventually chosen.

Position-Based Age Discrimination

  • This is very similar to denial of employment, but this type of age discrimination happens when you are already working for a company and are denied another position, perhaps a promotion, within the company based on age. This may be a little easier to identify and prove, simply because you are more likely to be familiar, or have the opportunity to become familiar, with the candidate eventually chosen.

Salary-Based Age Discrimination

  • Wage gaps not only exist between the genders; they can also exist between the generations. While it is reasonable to assume that someone with more experience and education will get paid more, even for doing nearly the same work as another person, there may be cases where that is not the case. If you believe someone younger or older than you is getting paid more and they have the same experience and abilities you do, it is possible you may have a discrimination case.

Housing-Based Age Discrimination

  • This type of age discrimination is different than others, simply because it is not related to employment. Some communities specifically cater to older adults, but this is an exemption to housing discrimination allowed uner the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA). This is true in many retirement communities, which often do not allow those younger than age 55 years to own property or live there. Still, if the housing is a type that is generally open to the public, you cannot be denied because of age.

Prevention and Solution

  • Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), you may have the right to bring a lawsuit if you believe you have been the victim of age discrimination. However, winning a lawsuit in an employment situation is only possible if you are older than age 40 years, according to a 2004 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Anyone, young or old, could bring a suit if the age discrimination is based on housing, as long as the property does not fall under HOPA.


  • Photo Credit umjanedoan/Flickr.com
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