Workplace discrimination can often be difficult to detect and prove, including age discrimination. If you are older than 40, you should know that you have federal legal protection from workplace harassment and unfair treatment based on your age.
Familiarize yourself with the signs of age discrimination so you can protect your interests if necessary.
Out with the old, in with the new
Has your job offered you and other older workers a buyout or early retirement package? Are the new hires primarily younger people who cost less because of their limited experience? If this scenario sounds familiar, you may have a discrimination complaint. You should know that in most industries, companies may not institute a mandatory retirement age for their workers.
Lack of opportunities
Often, older workers note that they seem to have fewer opportunities than their under-40 counterparts. Managers may leave them off meeting invites or even ask them to work in a different area than the rest of the team. If you feel the company has passed you over for promotions, projects, training, travel and other opportunities, consider whether your age may be the reason.
Insults and coded language
Frequent, persistent remarks about your age may constitute workplace harassment if a pattern of this type of behavior emerges. More often, older workers notice smaller slights. For example, a manager may say you are set in your ways but describe a younger team member as fresh and innovative.
Job elimination or layoff
If the company eliminates your position but hires a younger worker with a different title in a similar role, you have reason to suspect age discrimination. In the case of layoffs, you may notice that only older employees lost their jobs while the business retained under-40 staff members.
Keep track of age-related remarks at work, no matter how subtle, if you fear you may be experiencing discrimination. The company cannot fire you for making a federal complaint if you have evidence of unfair treatment and harassment.