Employers might discriminate against workers for a broad range of reasons, many of which the employees have no control over. Race, gender or disability discrimination could impact a person's ability to secure a new job or their ability to seek promotions and secure better wages over time. Age is also a common source of employment discrimination.
Sadly, workers who have years of valuable experience sometimes encounter unfairness due to their age as they endeavor to continue to advance their careers. If you are over the age of 40 and find your career trajectory stalling out, it might be the result of discrimination.
Older workers get replaced by younger staff
One of the most common ways in which companies discriminate based on age relates to hiring and firing workers. Your company may not generally offer positions to workers past a certain age. They may also exert pressure on existing senior staff to retire or move on to a new position. Workers who have experience and a history of solid work performance may get written up despite a lack of noticeable changes in their job performance. These write-ups may be an effort to create grounds for termination.
If your company eliminates a position held by an older worker, only to create a similar position now filled with a younger worker, that's could be red flag that reorganization is really a cover for age discrimination. Similarly, if you no longer receive regular raises or information about advancement and continuing education opportunities while younger workers receive them, these could be warning signs of age discrimination.
Your workplace becomes increasingly hostile
Another form of discrimination involves allowing a hostile work environment to develop. Instead of penalizing and educating workers who make jokes or rude comments about your age, management and human resources may ignore or even encourage this kind of atmosphere. Even if you report the issue, you may find yourself increasingly ostracized at work by younger staff members.
For those who work irregular shifts, you may start receiving worse or fewer shifts. For those in sales, you may find that your leads decrease in number or quality. People working on a project basis may find themselves assigned to increasingly underwhelming or unpleasant tasks. All of these are potential warning signs that your employer may be discriminating against you based on age.
If you suspect discrimination, speak up!
Your company likely has a formal complaint system in place. You should utilize it, unless the person you should report the issue to is involved in the discrimination you experience at work. You should also begin documenting everything, in case you find yourself fired for making the report. Retaliation is still common among those who push back against illegal discrimination. It is important to remember that individuals who face age discrimination or retaliation in the workplace have rights.