Workers over 40 years old make up a huge portion of America’s workforce. They are often some of the most experienced and accomplished employees. Regardless, many older workers will experience age discrimination in the workplace at some point in their lives.
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers from discriminating against workers who are 40 years of age and older. This law protects older workers throughout their employment – including during the hiring, promoting and terminating processes.
Discrimination indicators to watch out for
Unfortunately, some employers disregard this law. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the common signs of age discrimination at work. Here are a few indicators that you may be getting discriminated against based on your age:
- Your employer demoted you without good reason. If you have a history of great reviews but were suddenly demoted, it could be a sign of age discrimination. This may be especially true if your employer is simultaneously promoting younger workers.
- You hear offensive comments about your age. These could be demeaning remarks or daily insults. When this harassment leads to a hostile workplace, you may be experiencing discrimination.
- You notice that your employer always hires young employees. The pattern of hiring young employees can be common, especially in the technology industry. This could signal that your employer is trying to build up a force of young workers – possibly due to misconceptions about them being easier to train and more flexible.
- Your employer encourages you to retire. Sometimes, a company will offer employees early retirement packages to push them out. And even if you turn down the package, your employer could fire you anyway.
- You are consistently overlooked. Maybe you weren’t considered for that promotion six months ago, or that challenging new assignment last week. When your employer is not giving you the same opportunities as younger workers, you may be facing age discrimination.
Workers over 40 are a vital part of our workforce, and deserve to be treated that way. If you believe that you’re the victim of age discrimination, you should consider consulting an employment attorney. These cases can be tricky, but an experienced attorney can help.