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How to Prove Age Harassment in the Workplace


Multigenerational Workforce Drawbacks

A multigenerational workforce presents opportunities for fruitful exchange of ideas between seasoned employees and new entrants to the labor market. However, it also presents potentially fertile ground for harassment based on an employee’s generation or age. If you’re a human resources professional charged with the responsibility to prove or disprove age harassment, a tall order lies ahead.

Fair Employment Practices

Review federal and state statutes that prohibit harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act are two federal laws that protect workers over 40 years old. Notwithstanding these federal regulations, age harassment isn’t confined to unlawful treatment of older workers.

Bidirectional Harassment

Expand your definition of ageism and harassment when proving age harassment in the workplace. Ageism generally is defined as a form of bias against older workers, particularly those referred to Traditionalists or members of the Silent Generation. Age harassment actually is quite conceivable when the harassment is directed toward employees you identify as members of Generation X and Generation Y.

Fact-Finding Investigation

Proof of age harassment in the workplace rests upon your ability to assess the veracity of a complaint and witness credibility, as well as your capability to judge your own observations with objectivity. Embark upon an intense fact-finding mission through gathering witness or employee statements, reviewing employment records and possibly surveilling the workplace to observe the alleged harasser’s actions and behavior, and the complainant’s verbal and nonverbal reactions.

Determination Regarding Harassment

Upon concluding your investigation, your final responsibility involves synthesizing materials, deduction and reasoning that underlies either the harassment complaint or actual harassment. Once you arrive at a conclusion, consult your legal counsel about the age harassment claim. The combination of your investigative conclusions and legal interpretation will result in a determination whether age harassment occurred.



“Youth At Work: Age Discrimination – FAQs.” US EEOC Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2011.

“Understanding Workplace Harassment (FCC Staff) |” Home | N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. <>.

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