Ageism in today’s professional world

Suppose one overheard “We didn’t hire him because he was black, it would just be weird,” or “We didn’t hire him because he was homosexual, it would just be weird.” I would scarcely believe my ears if I heard these statements in real life. I would think they were politically incorrect.
However, I encountered a similar statement about the elderly. I was at a restaurant and overheard the manager say, “We didn’t hire him because he was 50, it would just be weird.” Admittedly, most of the staff there seemed about 20, so he wouldn’t be the typical employee. However, I was surprised at the seeming ambivalence of those around me and myself. At first, I didn’t register the comment as politically incorrect, but then I realized how statements like that were not supposed to happen. The same law which bans government and private businesses from discriminating based on race or sexual orientation also bans age discrimination, also known as ageism. Perhaps we should take a moment to realize ageist statements could be equally politically incorrect.
I doubt the manager had malicious intent. The apathetic atmosphere surrounded the statement gave me this impression.  I think it simply had to do with a lack of information.
The statement itself is legal in the U.S. due to freedom of speech. However, Washington state law bans employment discrimination if the victim is over 40, if it’s based on race, or on sexual orientation. Ageism, racism, and so on are not supposed to have a bearing on the hiring process. The statement is admittance of an illegal practice.
Further, there is possibly some moral reason such a law is in place. Even if I personally don’t realize all the moral reasons, something as respectable as the U.S. government has put such a law in place. I can think of a few moral reasons.
People in this society are expected to have jobs. This includes all people. By not hiring a person off some pretext which isn’t just, one is preventing them from meeting their societal expectations without good reason. In the US, if someone doesn’t have a job they may become very impoverished. Is it anymore just for a 20 or 50 year old to be homeless? The ability to suffer from joblessness is not unique to any adult age group. So, age should not be factored into the hiring process.
Also, age-based job discrimination is immoral because of its effects on the greater society, such as economic efficiency. Someone’s actual skills are a determining factor which contributes to their effectiveness at a specific job. A set of skills enable a person to do a given job well. Something like race, sexual orientation, or age are not contributing factors. A society which judges based off ability, and not actually off race, sex orientation or age could be expected to be more economically efficient. One thing leads to another, so the aftereffects of a greater economy are an ability to provide social services to prevent people’s suffering. It is an economy in which discoveries are made. Ultimately, economy is tied a great deal within a society.
If a 70-year-old man applies for a job at a lingerie store, and he is healthy, he should have a truly equal chance of being hired. That is the law. Apparently, the state law in Washington only protects those over 40.  It could happen the other way around as well. A younger person could be age discriminated against by older co-workers. It seems this law should be amended to protect all age groups. Any day, one can go walking around the U-District and find homeless people around 20 years old. They would probably benefit from a job.     All age groups independent of their parents can suffer from lack of employment. Also, the economy is not running as effectively if people who could have skills are not applying them. So,  age-based job discrimination is actual something we as thinking humans should avoid.