Regardless of your age, you should enjoy equal employment opportunities. This means that when it comes to hiring, promoting, assigning work, and terminating, your employer should rely on your merits and your compliance with company policies rather than your age.
Yet, as many as 40% of workers over the age of 40 report being discriminated against on account of their age. This highlights just how prevalent this issue is for workers across America, including here in the Santa Barbara area.
Yet, most people who are subjected to age discrimination either don’t realize that they’ve been discriminated against, or they think that there isn’t anything that they can do about it. If you want to protect yourself in the workplace, then you need to know how to spot signs of age discrimination and what to do if you’re subjected to it.
Signs that you’ve been subjected to age discrimination
If you want to hold your employer accountable for age discrimination, you’ll have to articulate specific instances of discrimination. Therefore, you’ll want to look for the following:
- Younger workers receive preferential treatment: Age discrimination can be easily spotted if an employer favors younger workers. If your input isn’t sought out in meetings while younger workers are allowed to be heard, or if favorable projects are consistently given out to younger workers, then you might be able to demonstrate that age discrimination is occurring. Other forms of preferential treatment include giving younger employees more raises and more positive feedback.
- You’re the subject of constant joking and teasing: Oftentimes in the workplace, employers and co-workers make unfair assumptions about older workers. This may include making jokes about an inability to navigate technology or moving too slowly. You don’t have to put up with this behavior, and you should be able to have it stopped by reporting it to your employer. However, if your employer fails to act or retaliates against you for reporting the behavior, then you may have justification for pursuing a workplace discrimination claim.
- Layoffs and demotions are one-sided: Another way to identify age discrimination is to assess who is being laid off and demoted at your place of employment. If individuals over the age of 40 are disproportionately the subject of these adverse employment actions, then you may be witnessing a sign of age discrimination.
- You’re being kept out of meetings: You should have the ability to showcase your abilities in the workplace. If you’re constantly kept out of meetings with clients or management, then it may be tied to your age. Pay attention to who is attending those meetings. If it’s a younger and less experienced employee, then this may be another sign of age discrimination.
- You’re missing out on learning assignments: Your employer should give you the opportunity to grow in your position. But if they pass you up for additional education and training while younger employees are given those opportunities, then you might be able to successfully argue that you’re being discriminated against based on your age.
Do you think you’ve been subjected to age discrimination?
If you’ve seen any of the signs discussed above and, as a result, think that you’ve been discriminated against, then legal action might be the best way to protect your interests, including your financial stability and your career. After all, age discrimination that goes unchecked could leave you with a mar on your employment record and lower pay.
But you can’t wait too long to stand up and have your voice heard. That’s why now is the time to start building your employment law case so that you can find accountability and recover the compensation you deserve.