So you are working, or you are even trying to find a job, when you realize that you may be a victim of age discrimination. With the tough economy, you have found it difficult to even find a job – the last thing you want to do is worry about losing your job once you finally land one. Employment discrimination due to age is actually illegal though, so you need to learn your rights and know how to recognize the warning signs of when you are being victimized in this area.
A law has been in place for several decades that protects older workers over the age of 40 against age discrimination. It prohibits employers from discriminating against you due to age on various levels of employment including hiring, firing and benefits. Knowing your rights and what the law says is the first step to being able to determine if you are a victim of employment discrimination due to age. These things are put into place to protect older worker rights, which you will find especially beneficial in these tough times.
Are You Being Victimized?
You know about the age discrimination law, and you are employed, but how do you know if you really are a victim of discrimination? Even though it is against the law, with the economy being down the way it is, companies have tried to force older employees to take early retirement plus target these employees in layoffs. There are several signs that you can look for that can alert you to whether or not you are in this situation yourself or not, or if you may become a victim in the near future.
Any time you think your older worker rights are being discriminated against, it is strongly suggested that you document any instance, so that if you do become victimized you have this proof and could very well have a case. There are obvious and blatant instances, like when someone makes a direct comment about your age, calling you grandpa or grandma, or referring to you as “over the hill”.
You can also look at instances such as the last layoffs or promotions. Were older workers generally the ones who were laid off? Were there younger employees who got promoted over of you even though they had fewer qualifications than you? If you can see that younger employees are definitely treated differently than you and the other older workers, there could be a case here for age discrimination.
Sometimes you can find instances where younger employees are even treated better than older workers, being given better equipment or assignments and leads. Other signs are younger employees being the only ones invited to important meetings or to socialize after work. These situations can be a set up for you and other older employees to fail and therefore get fired, and can definitely be instances where you have a valid employment discrimination case on your hands.
You can even keep an eye on the age of the new employees that are being hired, and if you have been with the company for many years, has your boss started treating you differently once you hit a certain age? Did you used to get mostly positive reviews, where now you are getting negative reviews or write-ups? All of these things can be red flags that you need to keep in mind because you could have a clear age discrimination case, especially if you are fired or forced to retire early.
If you are an older worker, knowing all of the older worker rights, and also knowing the signs of age discrimination, is very important so that you can be prepared ahead of time in case you do ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation. This way you will not be taken off guard, and you will be able to protect your rights and your livelihood.