Workers are considered 'old' by their bosses since the day they turn 50, a new survey has found.
The 50th birthday has become an "invisible tipping point" after which employees face discrimination and are seen as a burden, not an asset, the Daily Express reported.
Company chiefs fear they will end up with an office full of older people because many workers are carrying on past traditional retirement ages.
A survey of boardroom directors by business consultants KPMG found 75 percent are worried about managing a workforce whose ages range from teens to people in their late 60s.
Seventy-one percent admit that a worker is seen as "old" the moment he or she hits the half century mark.
A fifth say their organisation is "poor" or "very poor" in handling age discrimination.
Age prejudice is still alive and well in the workplace, despite legislation banning discrimination on the basis of a birth certificate.
Even though 62 percent concede it is "unfair" to discriminate against older staff, they admit it still happens.
Often this is because bigger organisations are geared up to take on graduates and promote them, rather than keep on older workers.