AbleToTrain by Willing & Able

10 Signs Of Workplace Age Discrimination

If you think you’re being discriminated against because of your age at work, you’re probably right. Here are some warning indications that your employer is discriminating against you because of your age.


1. Experiencing Age-Related Insults or Comments

Employers or bosses who make age-related comments or speak to you in a condescending tone could be harassing you. While they aren’t quite there yet, their actions may indicate a deeper problem.

Micro-aggressions are “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to the target person or group,” according to Time. “Even the oldest boomers not held back professionally due to age may experience something called micro-aggressions,” which are “hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults to the target person or group,” according to Time. According to Columbia University research, this is the case.


2. Observing a Trend of Only Hiring Younger Employees

As previously said, Silicon Valley and the technology industry follow a pattern. According to the EEOC, older workers in technology jobs face a disproportionately high rate of age discrimination, with 70% of IT employees reporting to have witnessed or experienced it firsthand. Furthermore, 40% of senior IT workers believe their age is a liability to their job.

According to Smart Insights, the typical ages of popular tech businesses are as follows:

Average Age of the Company:

AOL 27

Facebook 28

LinkedIn 29

Salesforce 29

Google 30

Apple 31

Amazon 31

Yahoo 31

eBay 32

Adobe 33

Microsoft 33

Dell 36

IBM 38

Oracle 39

HP 39

Younger employees are hired over older employees in areas other than Silicon Valley. For a variety of industries, the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers the following median ages:

Median Age in the Industry:

Hospitality 31

Wholesale & Retail 39

Construction 42

Services to Professionals and Businesses 42

Education 43

Financial 44

Manufacturing 44

Utilities & Transportation 45

If your company has an age-related hiring pattern, you might be onto something. Many employers may never admit it, yet they may be looking for younger employees in particular. This is frequently due to erroneous assumptions about ability, productivity, knowledge, and sociability.

The use of the term “overqualified” by an employer could be a sign of age discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to refuse to recruit an experienced older individual only because they might become bored or unsatisfied with their work and leave.


3. Being rejected for a promotion

You may have evidence of age discrimination if you were passed over for a promotion that went to a younger, less qualified employee. Your case for age discrimination will gain a lot of credibility if you can show a pattern of older workers being passed over for promotions that are generally given to younger workers, with no proof that the decisions were made on merit.

What can you do if you’ve been discriminated against because of your age? Get a free case evaluation to discover more about your possibilities.


4. Being Passed Over for Difficult Work Assignments

Employers may try to oust older workers by “lightening the load,” or removing difficult tasks and projects from their workload. This strategy irritates and demoralizes the employee while also making them appear less productive and valuable to the company as a whole. This feeds the stereotype that older workers are less knowledgeable and capable.


5. Feeling Left Out or Isolated

Employers or managers may begin to exclude you from meetings, leave you out of decisions, and even separate your desk location from your department or group, making it more difficult for you to participate and be a useful member of the team, similar to the previous point.

They may even ask you to work from home or transfer you to a different office entirely, even to a different state or area, which would cause substantial disturbance in your life.


6. Being Persuaded or Forcibly Retired

Companies frequently give early retirement payments to senior staff as a means of luring them out. Employees generally find it difficult to refuse these packages. Even if an employee declines a retirement package and the choice to retire, there’s no guarantee the employer won’t terminate them anyhow.

Similarly, despite the fact that it is currently unlawful, some businesses attempt to implement a forced retirement age. However, only a few professions, such as law enforcement and firefighting, are permitted to impose a mandatory retirement age.

Layoffs are a common occurrence.

Layoffs occur in businesses of all shapes and sizes. You may be able to show age discrimination if your employer is solely firing off older employees. Companies are usually clever enough to dilute layoff groups by include a percentage of younger employees in the mix, because layoffs necessitate paperwork.


8. Getting fired from your job

Eliminating a role by changing the job title is an all-too-common practice at organizations across the country. If your company tells you that your job is being abolished, but then recruits a younger employee to work in the same position as you but with a different title, this could be considered age discrimination.

Receiving a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is number nine.

It’s never a good sign when you’re put on a performance improvement plan. If you have always received positive feedback and have never had a history of bad performance, being placed on an improvement plan is a clear indication that your boss is looking for a “legal” way to fire you.


10. Having to Deal with Unfair Discipline

All employees should receive the same treatment. If you appear to be subjected to harsher criticism or discipline than your coworkers for similar faults or errors, this could be a subtle but telling evidence of age discrimination.


Is Workplace Age Discrimination Common?

Because the majority of age discrimination goes undetected, determining its prevalence in the workplace is challenging.

However, in 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved 90,558 discrimination charges and secured $505 million for discrimination victims in private, state and local government, and federal organizations. There were almost 554,000 phone calls and emails about possible discrimination claims.


Employers’ Role in Preventing Age Discrimination

Develop a Policy

Employers should define age discrimination clearly and develop guidelines for how corporate leaders should respond in such cases. Make sure that everyone in the company is aware of the policy.

Rethink how you conduct interviews.

During interviews with potential employees, there are several questions that should be avoided. Interview questions such as asking a candidate their age, when they want to marry, if they want children, or when they hope to retire should be avoided.

Examine current policies and procedures

Indirect age discrimination in the workplace is also possible. Any areas where prejudices exist, such as recruitment methods, sick leave rules, or training processes, should be investigated.

 Nondiscriminatory Practices Must Be Enforced

Employers may be concerned about the right and legal ways to let employees go when they are laid off. In many cases, eliminating an entire department can prevent any perception of age discrimination, but this isn’t always the greatest option. In any case, hiring an employment law attorney is critical to ensuring that your organization complies with the law.