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Signs of age bias in work performance evaluations

Age bias can manifest subtly during performance evaluations. While this type of bias may not always be overt or intentional, it can negatively impact employees and the company. Here are some signs that age bias might be influencing performance evaluations:

Applying differing criteria for evaluation

There may be age bias in work performance evaluations if an employer holds older employees to higher standards than younger employees, or vice versa, rather than evaluating everyone by the same criteria. This practice unfairly alters the standards by which an employer judges their employees, often to the disadvantage of a particular age group.

Unnecessarily referencing age

Making frequent references to an employee’s age during performance evaluations, whether directly or indirectly, can be a form of age bias. An example would be suggesting that an employee may not have long-term potential with the company due to their old age.

Overlooking accomplishments

Another sign of age bias during performance evaluations is failing to acknowledge or give appropriate credit to the achievements of older employees while highlighting those of younger employees and vice versa.

Stereotyping age groups

Some employers make assumptions based on age, such as believing older employees are not tech-savvy or that younger employees are incapable since they lack work experience. Unfortunately, they let these stereotypes influence their evaluation of their employees rather than basing assessments on actual performance data.

Providing biased feedback

During evaluations, employers are expected to provide their employees with insightful feedback about their performance so they continue to grow within the organization. Accordingly, giving vague or less constructive feedback to older employees, possibly rooted from the assumption that they are less adaptable, can be a manifestation of age bias.

Age should not matter

Age bias in performance evaluations can manifest through stereotypes and unequal standards, among others, often disadvantaging employees of a certain age group. If you believe you are a victim of age discrimination in your workplace, it is essential to know your rights and the available remedies to protect them.