Whether it’s a boss making snide age-related comments during a meeting or a recruiter selectively choosing younger people for interviews, age discrimination is a real – and extremely harmful – form of workplace bias. Spurred by the rise of technology, young people are increasingly viewed by employers as “more adaptable,” even as skilled employees at the height of their careers are shown the door.
Fortunately, there are multiple federal-level protections in place against this form of discrimination, and in California, it’s also unequivocally illegal to discriminate based on age. At Habbas & Associates, our discrimination attorneys are passionate about this issue, and ensuring that all employees have a fair chance at a meaningful career in their field. If you believe you’ve been victimized by age discrimination, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
In this post, we’ll discuss a few of the most surprising areas where older Americans tend to face job discrimination – and how you can seek compensation.
3 Surprising Examples of Age Discrimination
Example #1: Getting rid of older workers first in a layoff.
Companies have an obvious vested interest in their financial bottom line, and for some unethical managers, that interest may come at the expense of older workers’ rights. Although people often whisper that older workers are laid off first during a period of economic crisis, many do not realize that this is actually a longstanding example of age discrimination.
Why do older workers get laid off first? For the simple reason that younger workers are cheaper to keep, and their inexperience is often framed as a positive in times of economic strife. Employers may use ageist justifications to bolster these decisions as well. Alternatively, they may hide their discriminatory actions under the guise of “moving in a new direction,” and claim it was part of a mass firing.
Example #2: Disciplining older workers for minor mistakes.
If you’ve always earned positive reviews and accolades from your bosses, but then suddenly notice an icy tone shift after your 50’s, you’re not alone. Many older workers have described the pain of receiving harsh criticism and unduly negative reviews from bosses who once had nothing but great things to say about their work.
This form of age discrimination can be particularly difficult to prove, as employers will simply say that your performance was to blame. However, in many cases these “performance issues” may be intentionally deceptive, or even common to workers of every age group at your company. If you can demonstrate that there is an age-related bias to the discipline you’ve received, you may have a successful lawsuit on your hands.
Example #3: Actively looking for younger workers.
Because most job descriptions are posted and reviewed online now, it’s easier to see when employers are actively scouting for a younger demographic. From postings that include an “ideal age range” to jobs that cap experience levels at 5 or 7 years, it’s illegal for a recruiter or employer to include any age considerations as part of their qualifications, unless it’s considered to be a “bona fide occupational qualification.”
If you’re currently in the pipeline for a job and the recruiter mentions that they’re looking for “new college graduates” or “someone with less experience,” it may be a red flag that you are experiencing discrimination. Of course, it can be hard to prove discrimination of this kind without hard evidence, so make sure to document any offensive terms during your interactions with the recruiter.
Need to discuss your age discrimination case with an attorney? Call Habbas & Associates today at (888) 387-4053 for a free consultation.