If you are like many other older Americans in the work force, you may be facing a type of discrimination that will have snuck right up on you, being discriminated against because of your age. It may be hard to deal with because in your own head you may feel and think like someone in their mid-20’s, but to a boss or a hiring manager, your gray hair and wrinkles are the only thing they see.
Age discrimination is illegal, and it is rampant. The Age Discrimination Act spells out that it is illegal for an employer to discriminate due to your age if you are 40 or older. This type of discrimination can yield a toxic work environment and turn an otherwise exceptional employee into one that feels defeated and lacks self-esteem.
How can you tell you are the victim of age discrimination?
A pattern of out with the old and in with the new – Have you noticed that many workers over the age of 40 or 50 are let go only to be replaced by someone in their 20’s? If you see this happening, you could be next. There are many excuses for this kind of behavior from employers, from saying they are creating a new culture to they are hiring for the long-term. However, new hires may not have the same salary demands and may not have accrued as much time off as you, which means you may be next to go.
You are hearing suspect comments – It can be as evident as being called “old man” or receiving stereotypical old age comments about not seeing or hearing very well. You may have even been asked sarcastically about when you are retiring. If these comments are routine, it could mean that your age is very prevalent on the minds of your supervisors and it could spell trouble.
You are not getting the important tasks – Are the kinds of work you used to be asked to do going to younger and more inexperienced workers? If so, it may be due more to your age than with any sort of attribute the young employee can provide.
Performance reviews suffer – If you are blindsided by a review that was bad which you thought was going to be praiseworthy, then you may be getting set-up to be let go. Employers often use poor performance reviews to show a pattern of sub-standard work and then use it to let you go when it really is because of your age.
Promotions and raises have stopped – When you stop climbing the ladder at the company and your usual raise has not come through, your time may be limited. If the company loses interest in investing in you, they may just decide to replace you with someone younger who has a lower salary.
If you are noticing any of the situations above happening to you at work, you may be or will soon could be a victim of age discrimination. You should contact an attorney with whom you can discuss your experience and see if you have any recourse against your employer.