Age-related discrimination practices typically target those individuals who are in their 40s and beyond. With life expectancies in the United States averaging around 76 years, there are more older individuals in the workforce than ever. Age discrimination becomes more prevalent in the workplace as more adults prolong their working years and delay retirement.
Recognizing the signs of age discrimination helps you fight for your rights and protect your position in the workforce.
Subtle age-related references
Some signs of age discrimination are subtle and may not even seem directed at you. Passing comments about age and ability can qualify under age discrimination laws, especially when combined with other indications of discrimination. If your work environment routinely exposes you to co-worker teasing or judgment based on your age, you may have a case.
Work assignment favoritism
If management seems to assign work duties based on age-related preferences, such as giving the preferred tasks to younger employees or putting younger workers in more visible roles while keeping older employees behind the scenes, these are subtle forms of age discrimination.
Age-related layoff structure
If the company institutes a layoff and you notice that the layoff targets workers by age instead of seniority, role or salary, that is potentially an indication of age discrimination. Laying off older workers or encouraging those staff members to consider early retirement allows for hiring younger staff, but it may violate discrimination laws.
Protect your rights as an older worker by recognizing even the subtle indications of age discrimination in your workplace.