Age discrimination is often cited as a barrier to participation in work by older people, and the workplace provides the most common grounds for complaints of this nature. Age discrimination predominantly affects older rather than younger groups (although the latter are not exempt), and is often based on myths and stereotyped attitudes about older people and older workers which can be easily refuted. Age discrimination as an issue in the workplace is not new. Age discrimination pervades the entire employment relationship and can take a variety of forms. It occurs in relation to promotion, job allocation, salary differentials, access to training and staff benefits (for example, cut-off ages for life assurance cover and long service leave). General attitudes, as well as inter-staff action such as bullying and exclusion from social activities, can also disadvantage older workers .
Judith Davey is a Senior Associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies and was formerly Director of the New Zealand Institute for Research on Ageing. Her main research focus is the policy implications of population ageing.