Harassment of Older Adults in the Workplace

Amy Blackstone, University of Maine, Orono

Abstract/ Summary

his chapter reviews research on harassment of older adults in the workplace and highlights results from my recent study of harassment of older workers in Maine. I suggest that the power that older people hold at work, at home, and in their communities shapes their workplace harassment experiences. Based on a survey of nearly 200 Maine workers aged 62 and above, four questions framed the study: (1) What is the content of older workers’ harassment experiences?; (2) Which older workers are most likely to become targets of workplace harassment?; (3) How do older workers respond to potentially harassing behaviors?; and (4) What do older workers have to say about their workplace experiences? I find that workplace isolation is one of the most common harassment experiences among older workers, that gender differences are less prominent than anticipated, and that many older workers remain silent about their harassment experiences. I conclude by considering what these findings suggest about improving older people’s workplace experiences.