You deserve equal employment opportunities in your place of work. This means that your workplace should be free from discrimination and harassment. Yet, all too often employers allow this egregious behavior to go unchecked, which can put you at risk of retaliation when you report what’s being done to you. You can be demoted, reassigned, or even terminated as a result.
Discrimination can take many forms, too. One type that often goes unnoticed or at least unaddressed is age discrimination. Federal law protects workers who are 40 and older from being treated unfairly in their place of work simply because of their age. That’s a strong protection, but for many workers, it’s hard to even identify when they’ve been subjected to age discrimination.
Signs that you’ve been hit with age discrimination
To catch age discrimination, you have to be alert and aware. If you experience any of the following signs of age discrimination, then dig deeper into your case to determine if legal action is warranted:
- Younger workers are given preferential treatment: As an older worker, you probably have more experience than your younger counterparts. If, despite that fact, your employer continues to give challenging and interesting assignments to younger workers, or you’re kept out of important meetings in favor of including younger workers, then you might be able to demonstrate a pattern of preferential treatment towards younger workers. This can support an age discrimination case.
- Inaccurate assumptions: Are you constantly being teased about your inability to perform certain tasks because of your age? If so, then you’re being subjected to behavior that could be considered discriminatory in nature. Many older workers are subjected to these “jokes,” especially as they pertain to technology that’s used in the workplace.
- Patterns in demotions and terminations: Demotions and terminations are a part of the workplace. These employment decisions should be based on performance and workplace behavior, though, and not your age. If you’re seeing a pattern of older workers being let go or demoted, that may be indicative of discriminatory practices being implemented by your employer, and one that could have tremendous implications for your career.
- You’re given bad work assignments: To try to protect themselves, many employers assign older workers to unpleasant job duties in hopes that those workers will simply quit. This tends to insulate the employer to a certain extent, unless you can show that this reassignment of bad duties to older workers is a standard practice. If that’s the case, then you can use this evidence to support an age discrimination claim.
- Your performance reviews aren’t justified: Your yearly performance appraisals can have a tremendous impact on the trajectory of your career and your pay. Therefore, these reviews should be objective and fair. All too often, though, supervisors hand out bad performance appraisals to lay a foundation for a justified termination. If you think that your performance appraisals are unjustifiably low, then you might want to take additional action to insulate yourself from unchecked discrimination.
Don’t be taken advantage of by age discrimination
Age discrimination can derail your career and leave you without the compensation you’ve come to rely upon. That’s an unfair outcome that you don’t have to accept. So, if you think that you’ve been subjected to age discrimination, then now is the time to figure out your best course of remedial action. That might include taking legal action against your employer in hopes of finding accountability and recovering the compensation you deserve.