While age discrimination in the workplace is alive and well, it is one of the hardest forms of workplace discrimination to prove. In an effort to shed some light on this growing epidemic, Princeton researchers recently conducted an experiment aimed at measuring age discrimination, according to the New York Times.
In the experiment, 137 Princeton undergraduates were shown a video of a man named Max, who they were told would be their partner in a trivia contest. However, unbeknownst to the undergrads, there were multiple versions of Max being played by a 25-year-old actor, 45-year-old actor and 75-year-old actor.
All three of the actors were white, wore a checked shirt and said their version of Max was from Hamilton, New Jersey. In the video, each Max gave the same scripted answer to each question with the exception of one. In describing himself, sometimes each Max would say he was the kind of person to share his wealth with relatives and other times each would say he felt no obligation to share.
After watching the video, the undergraduates were asked their opinion of Max. For the 25- and 45-year-old Max, the students’ opinions of him did not differ depending on whether or not he described himself as someone who felt an obligation to share. However, the students who saw the video where 75-year-old Max described himself as feeling no obligation to share, gave Max a very negative rating.
“If you want to be an aging gray panther, and speak your mind to your manager, that’s fine,” said Susan Fiske, a Princeton professor and co-author of the study. “But expect consequences.”
Have you seen or even experienced age discrimination in the workplace?
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles discrimination lawyers