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Ageism and Age Discrimination for House Cleaners

Ageism and Age discrimination for house cleaners is our topic of today’s #AskaHouseCleaner.

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says never assume you’re too old to clean. You need to know how to ace a job interview and sell your strengths in house cleaning. Age discrimination and ageism in the workplace are against the law.

Highlight the best of your employment history and make the Age Discrimination in Employment Act work in your favor.

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

Ageism and Age Discrimination in Hiring House Cleaners

Ageism - Age Discrimination Act Screenshot2House cleaners ask, “Is there a certain age where you don’t get to be a house cleaner anymore?” Well, there is what’s called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which is also known as ADEA.

The rules and regulations say no, you cannot discriminate against age. Those guidelines include a variety of things.

For example, employment and hiring and firing practices, promotions, and training are in there. Also, they discuss the job description and what is available and required from you on the job.

There are a whole bunch of federal rules and regulations that are already in place. If you get turned away for a job interview for house cleaning, there are a couple of things going on.

Think Positive Thoughts and Be Prepared

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Woman ThinkingFirst, are you thinking in your head you’re too old? There are a lot of people that are like, “Oh, I’m not going to get hired because I’m too old.” All right, if that’s your thinking, you’re going in already with a broken leg.

A broken leg meaning you have nothing to stand on. In your head, you have already limited your possibilities. If the Age Discrimination Act is in place, as it should be because it’s required, they won’t discriminate based on age.

When you come in, how do you present yourself? There are five different books linked in the resources section. Three of them are free and they are on how to ace the job interview.

They come highly recommended. They will guide you through the correct things to say in a job interview as well as how to present yourself.

These books are for employers, too. There are questions you can’t ask. For example, you don’t want to ask somebody, “How old are you?”  That is against the rules and you could get into trouble for that.

Your Resume Says A Lot

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Woman on Her ComputerWhat does your resume look like? If you are on the senior side, and I’m going to say senior meaning above 40 because the law protects you above age 40.  If you’re above the age of 40, and your resume lists 40 jobs the employer will question your job stability.

Most companies are looking for somebody that has a long-term history with one consistent job. So, if you have 40 jobs, pick two or three of them that show your strengths in the house cleaning industry.

Word it to match their needs and show the longest work history because a lot of times we have many jobs, right? We have two and three jobs at the same time, and some of them run for a long period of time. Prove that long window of time.

Also, are there jobs in your past that taught you a specific set of skills that would be good for house cleaning? Those are the jobs you want to highlight.

Presentation is Everything

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Older Woman Shaking Hands With Younger WomanWhen you are talking to an employer, how do you present yourself? When you show up for the job interview, do you look old and tired? Don’t come in and look worn out and tired and frazzled, and bring a resume that says, “I’ve had 40 jobs.” They’re going to look at this and tell you, “Oh, you’re overqualified.”

They’ll send you on your way because you don’t look the part. If you’re going in for a job interview for a house cleaning position, you want to show them you are ready to go for the job. Employers know what they want in an employee. What this means is, pull your hair back in a bun so that when you walk in, you look like a house cleaner.

Look the Part

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Man BunYou may want to dress like a house cleaner. Wear something professional but loose-fitting, easy to move in if you were to clean houses.

If you show up for the interview wearing a Sunday dress, hair done, and heels, they will not see you as a house cleaner.  They will think you don’t fit the part. And they won’t say, “Oh yes, this person wearing jewelry and fancy shoes will change over into a pair of sneakers and a bun in her hair to clean.”

The point is you want to look the part when you go in for the job. It’s important that you are capable at any age of doing physical labor. That is a basic rule for any house cleaning job.

If you are not able to do the job, that’s going to come out during the first interview, and it may have nothing to do with age. For example, if you are physically unable to do the job, you have to sell the employer on what you are capable of doing.

Be Upfront About Your Skills

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Two Woman TalkingSome house cleaners show up at interviews with a different approach. They say something like, “I am not able to bend and stoop and all these things. But do you have a different job where I could do the walkthroughs for customers? Maybe there are office tasks I can do behind the scenes?” It’s not impossible for you to get a job.

You just have to know what your skills are and market yourself in the best way. If you go into a house cleaning job and you promise that you can do the job, but you can’t, they will let you go. That has nothing to do with age.

If You Feel There is Ageism

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Age Discrimination and GavelIf you’re thinking, “Well, it’s because of my age,” now you need to prove it. If you decide to file a complaint against your employer for age discrimination, there are a couple of things that you have to do.

Number one, you have to prove either evidence or indirect evidence that you have a case.

The direct evidence you’ll need is going to be something that the employer did that was really stupid. Maybe, in their application for the job, where they wrote, “We’re looking for an age range of 20 to 35.”

An age discrimination range or a suggested age inside that job application is proof. That’s proof that they were discriminatory against your age. Now, the protected class, like I said, is above age 40. If there are any comments that go beyond age 40, that is something that you can work on as far as your court case.

Indirect Evidence to Show Age Discrimination

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Excited Middle Age WomanThe next thing is the indirect evidence.  It’s legal for your boss or coworkers to say things like, “Oh, we’re all getting too old to do this job anymore.” Or, ” Oh, we need to get some new whippersnappers in here that have lots of energy.”

It’s not against the law for them to say things like that. But if you can establish a pattern of them saying things like that, that is a hostile work environment. That means there is age discrimination, so that’s indirect evidence that supports your case. Then, you have to pay attention to other things. Maybe there are other issues like all the young people got to go to special training for Airbnbs, but you did not. That could perhaps be age discrimination.

There’s a lot of gray area in here and a really good attorney can help you with that. What you want to do. if you feel that you’re being age discriminated against, start making notes. Then, you’ll have a leg to stand on, so to speak, if you have to file a complaint.

Honesty is Always the Best Policy

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Woman With Cleaning SuppliesNow, the next thing is, to be honest about your age. As we get older, our bodies don’t respond like they did when we were 20. So, if you’re going into the house cleaning business, you need to understand the rules.

If the employer wants someone to work eight hours a day, you’ll need to be honest with them. Say, “Hey listen, I’m not up for eight hours a day. I’m really great for a four-hour window.”

Now you’re selling yourself back to the employer. “That would work for an Airbnb client who has a late checkout at 11:00 and an early check-in at 3:00. So, from 11 to 3, I would love to do an Airbnb job for you.” That lets your employer know you’d be a good person to put on an Airbnb, and you’ll have one or two of those per week. That would be your job. It’s your job to sell them.

Sell Your Strengths

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Elderly Woman Deciding on OutfitA grandma came in, and she wanted to be in the house cleaning business. She knew she had some limitations based on her physical abilities and her age. So, she came in all prepared because she needed the job. As she sat down and explained her story, she said, “I am a grandma. I have not been in the workplace. I do not have a resume with all these different skills. I’ve raised a family and that is my long-term commitment. I raised five children.”

Then she said, “And I’ve been a grandma to all these kids.” She said, “I have a very tidy house. I’ve been cleaning my own house for years. What I do understand is this, I understand grandmas my age and what they need in house cleaning.” She said, “Because I am a grandma, I work at their speed so they’re not expecting me to come in and do speed cleaning. They know I can’t clean their entire house top to bottom in a two-hour window. They understand I’m going to come in and it’s going to take me four hours to do what other house cleaners would do in two.”

It Is Possible to Be a House Cleaner at Any Age

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Elderly Woman With BunShe was honest and open about her capabilities. She was also perfect for the audience she sold herself to because they connected. They could talk about their grandkids. They had stuff in common, and then she would say, “Oh, I’d love to stay and chat, but I can’t. I’ve got to pick my grandson up for a soccer game,” stuff like that.

She was good with the customers and she was good as a house cleaner. But if you are a certain age with limited abilities, it’s your job to sell yourself in a way so that they still hire you.

So, if it’s in your head that nobody’s going to hire you because of your age, get rid of that right now. There are lots of jobs for people over 40 in the house cleaning business.

There are many house cleaners that are active and working every single day that passed 40 a long time ago. They’re still running very successful businesses because their mind says, “Oh yes, I can.”

Ageism and Discrimination are Real

Ageism - Age Discrimination, Happy Woman ThinkingYou need to be aware of it. If you are the employer, you need to be careful about the things you say, although you may be joking. Maybe you’re just trying to realize your own aging and you say things like, “I’m getting old.” But when you make those comments, someone could hold them against you. They could even prove that yours is a hostile work environment because you say small things like that.

If you’re saying comments like that, please stop. It’s not going to serve you in any way from here through infinity. If you found this helpful, please pass it on to a friend. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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Resources

Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview – https://amzn.to/2ym2H6d

Answers to the Top 20 Interview Questions: Conquering the Job Interview Process – https://amzn.to/2zXQ2Iz

How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions – https://amzn.to/2yoOmG7

High-Impact Interview Questions: 701 Behavior-Based Questions to Find the Right Person for Every Job – https://amzn.to/2E5J8Fj

96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire – https://amzn.to/2yo72G8

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