Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

pp 7238-7242

Workplace Discrimination Among Older American Workers

  • Caroline OrrAffiliated withDepartment of Social and Behavioral Health, Virginia Commonwealth University Email author 
  • , Steven CohenAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Community Health, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • , Briana MezukAffiliated withSchool of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University


Ageism; Stereotypes among older workers


Negative judgment of or attitude toward an employee or group of employees based on age-related stereotypes and norms, rather than work performance or skills.



The rapid aging of the workforce in the United States has resulted in increased interest in the issue of age discrimination in the workplace (Hedge, Borman, & Lammlein, 2005; Posthuma & Campion, 2009). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of workers between the ages of 55–64 will increase by 36.5 % from 2006 to 2016. However, the number of workers age 65 and older is expected to climb by 80 %, so that by 2016, 6.1 % of the entire labor force is expected to be over the age of 65 (U.S. Department of labor & bureau of labor statistics, 2012). Older adults will have increasingly important roles in the labor market, but negative views about older workers present a significant barrier to their inclusion in the ...

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