Age Discrimination

“Discrimination due to age is one of the great tragedies of modern life. The desire to work and be useful is what makes life worth living, and to be told your efforts are not needed because you are the wrong age is a crime.”

—Johnny Ball

Age discrimination involves the unfavorable treatment of a person based on his or her age (40 or older). Age discrimination is incredibly hurtful to employees, but it’s also a terrible business decision, as America’s 40 and older workers are most often the source of vast experience, knowledge, connections, and general know how.  Unfortunately, many employers just don’t recognize the vast knowledge base and high commitment levels of older workers.  Oftentimes, a new and younger member of management will “clean house,” operating under the belief that a younger worker is a “go getter,” as if employees over 40 haven’t already been proving their ability to get the job done for decades.  A boss, supervisor, manager, human resources representative, or coworker can commit a wrong based on your age, and still be someone you don’t want to make trouble for or argue with.  However, when those wrongs have hurt you, those same people still need to answer for the damage they have caused.

So what is age discrimination?  Here are some examples of discrimination by employers that we have seen with our clients or that have been reported in court cases:

  • Biased comments -your boss calls you “grandma” or “old man,” asks you about your retirement plans, says that they want a younger image, or says that your best days are behind you
  • Excluding potential employees during recruitment
  • Denying certain employees compensation or benefits
  • Paying equally-qualified employees in the same position different wages
  • Discriminating when assigning leave or retirement options
  • Denying the use of company facilities
  • Discriminating when issuing promotions or lay-offs
  • Allowing or creating a hostile work environment based on age, making the workplace a difficult or offensive environment that interferes with an employee’s ability to work
  • Terminating or demoting based on age, which particularly happens when new management or supervisors are brought in
  • Issuing unfair discipline based on age, faultfinding, nitpicking
  • Treating older employees differently and unequally
  • Providing insufficient training to employees based on age
  • Holding employees over a particular age to a higher standard
  • Giving an impossible work load or goals to older employees
  • Giving less desirable assignments to older employees
  • Giving less hours on the schedule to older employees
  • Bullying behavior, or the office freezing you out of meetings and assignments, refusing to provide normal assistance or interaction

This is of course not a comprehensive list of the ways in which discrimination rears its ugly head at work, but it is a list that you may be more familiar with than you would like.  If you are experiencing any, or many, of the above discriminatory actions, please understand that it is in the vested interests of the wrongdoers to make you feel guilty or hesitate to pursue potential legal claims.  Contact an employment attorney to discuss what’s been happening to you. We know how this works, and we want to help.