In a diverse workforce, employees of various backgrounds, experiences and ages come together to drive a business forward. Unfortunately, not all employers embrace diversity within a company as one of its core values.
For a myriad of reasons, discrimination still exists in many workplaces. For example, many employers unlawfully discriminate against older applicants and employees intentionally or unintentionally. Ultimately, recognizing the signs of age discrimination is the first step towards addressing ongoing mistreatment and preventing unlawful conduct related to this issue in the future.
Common discriminatory “red flags”
Discrimination in the workplace can be obvious or subtle. For starters, comments like “You’re too old to understand this technology” or “We need fresh, young minds for this project” are red flags. Stereotyping employees based on their age overlooks the unique talents, experiences and insights they bring to the table.
Additionally, when older employees are consistently overlooked for training sessions, workshops or career advancement opportunities, it might indicate that age discrimination is playing out in concrete ways within a company’s broader culture. Every employee, regardless of age, should have an equal opportunity to grow and develop in their roles.
Age discrimination can also occur during the hiring process. If a pattern emerges where younger employees are consistently favored over older ones during hiring processes or promotions, it might indicate age bias. All decisions should be based on merit, experience and skills, not age.
To that end, if an older employee’s responsibilities are suddenly reduced or altered without a clear reason, it might be due to age-based bias. This can manifest as assigning them less important tasks or removing them from projects they were previously handling. Similarly, encouraging or forcing employees to retire based on their age, rather than their performance or their self-expressed desire to leave the workforce, is a blatant form of age discrimination.
Regardless of why and how it occurs, age discrimination that targets workers older than age 39 is unlawful across the U.S. Those who are affected by this kind of mistreatment should seek legal guidance accordingly in order to explore their rights and options.