Older workers offer years of accumulated knowledge, training, and experience on job sites, making them valuable employees. Unfortunately, in a fast-paced employment, these qualities may be overlooked or underappreciated. As a discrimination lawyer in Washington D.C. from a firm like Eric Siegel Law can explain, age discrimination continues to be a problem, robbing employees of opportunities, salaries, and benefits they would otherwise be entitled to. Making hiring, firing, or other decisions based on age is against the law. The following are four signs that it might be an issue in your workplace.
How to Determine if Age Discrimination Is a Factor at Your Job
In addition to federal laws prohibiting certain discriminatory actions in the workplace, each state also has laws that protect workers against discrimination based on their age or due to being a member of any other protected class. Employers who engage in these types of practices can face civil penalties, which include paying back wages and benefits, along with fines and punitive damages.
Employers are largely aware of these laws and while it does not prevent them from continuing to engage in these practices, it does force them to be less obvious in considering age as a factor in hiring or firing decisions. While you may have a sense that an employer favors younger workers, how can you tell if age discrimination is actually occurring? The American Association of Retired People (AARP) recommends being alert to these four signs:
- Talking about the ‘culture’ of the company and hiring more young people: When employers often talk about the ‘culture’ surrounding their company or the products they sell, it can be code for age discrimination. Signs include hiring large numbers of young workers who fit their ‘image’ while offering early retirement or eliminating positions held by older employees.
- An increase in tacky comments and age-related jokes: Joking about age or passive-aggressive comments about physical abilities and future retirement plans are unfortunately common among older workers. Unfortunately, they indicate that age is on the employer’s mind and is likely to be a factor in decisions.
- Getting reassigned or being designated unpleasant duties: If you find yourself being singled out for tasks other employees do not want or delegated to ‘back of the house’ jobs that keep you away from clients, it could be due to your age.
- Getting poor performance reviews: If you are good at your job but find your employer increasing giving you reprimands or poor performance reviews, they could be putting together a paper trail to protect them against an age discrimination lawsuit for letting you go.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you are facing harassment on the job or suspect that you not hired or fired as the result of your age, a qualified age discrimination lawyer is always there to help. Reach out and contact an employment law attorney today to request a consultation to discuss your case.