While we would like to think that modern-day employees and companies are all well-versed in how to avoid age discrimination in the workplace, the reality is that it still happens frequently. Some older individuals experience exclusion at work and even when applying for a new job. Others have become easy targets for company layoffs or early retirement.
Missouri and federal laws protect individuals aged 40 to 70 from discrimination or termination solely due to their date of birth. However, even with these safeguards, proving age discrimination in court can be challenging.
If you are unsure whether you are witnessing or experiencing illegal age discrimination, these five signs may help.
- Are you being excluded from training and learning opportunities? Indirect discrimination may occur when training seminars are presented only to new or younger employees. Likewise, your employers should not advise you to skip learning opportunities so you can “take it easy” or because they assume you might not understand the course.
- Have you been overlooked for challenging work assignments? Many employees look for challenging work to advance their careers and stay motivated. Look out for cases where your manager primarily gives such tasks to younger peers.
- Have you been overlooked for promotions? If a younger co-worker with a lower performance rating and fewer skills was promoted to a job you were both contending for, you may have been discriminated against.
4. Are you being ostracized by coworkers? Your career can benefit from networking with peers, but if cliques isolate you, it may be wise to take a closer look at why. Being ignored while
speaking, being left out of social gatherings, or experiencing an awkward silence when you show
up are a few examples of ostracism.
5. Do co-workers make rude remarks about your age? In the Reid v. Google case, employees
made several derogatory remarks against Brian Reid, who was 52 at the time. When you are
close to a coworker, you may feel comfortable laughing when they make such jokes. However, you
should not have to tolerate being discriminated against based on your age.
6. Is your company only laying off older workers? Businesses have their own reasons for laying
off people, demoting them, or imposing pay cuts. However, these actions should not only impact
older employees. Companies should make employment decisions based on your work
performance, not your age.
Any older professional should work to dispel stereotypes and demonstrate that they are just as competent as their younger counterparts, if not more so. However, if you feel like you are being discriminated against because of your age, an employment lawyer can help shed some light on what to do next.