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How does age discrimination in the workplace manifest?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2023 | Workplace Discrimination

Age discrimination in the workplace is a consequential issue that affects many employees. It’s essential to recognize and address this form of discrimination so that affected workers can seek justice and benefit from the inclusive environment that they deserve and are entitled to.

At its most basic, age discrimination involves treating an individual unfavorably because of their age. This kind of mistreatment can occur in various forms, from hiring practices to who gets terminated in the event of a layoff. Across the U.S., age discrimination is prohibited in hiring and employment when a worker is at least 40 years old.

Recognizing the signs

Age discrimination can be challenging to spot, as it often manifests in subtle ways. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t result in devastating consequences for a worker’s career, finances and overall well-being. Therefore, it is important to seek legal guidance when “red flags” become apparent, as simply trying to ignore this mistreatment could lead to an escalation of the situation that can quickly spiral out of control.

  • Job Advertisements and Hiring: Pay attention to job postings. Phrases like ‘young and energetic’ or ‘new graduates’ might indicate a bias towards younger applicants. Similarly, if older candidates are consistently overlooked for roles they’re qualified for, it could be a sign of age discrimination.
  • Promotions and Opportunities: It should be concerning if there’s a pattern where only younger employees are considered for promotions, training opportunities, or high-profile projects.
  • Jokes and Comments: Offhand remarks or ‘jokes’ about someone’s age, whether they’re about being ‘too old’ or ‘too young,’ can contribute to a discriminatory environment that may ultimately meet the definition of “hostile work environment” when such misconduct is persistent or particularly egregious.
  • Redundancies and Layoffs: If layoffs disproportionately affect older employees, or if older workers are pushed into early retirement, this might be a form of age discrimination.

If you suspect that you’re being unlawfully mistreated, seek legal guidance and support. Especially when mistreatment dramatically affects one’s rights or experience, it may be actionable.