Both federal and California state laws prohibit discrimination by employers against individuals aged 40 and above because of their age. This covers hiring, termination, demotion, promotion and overall treatment in the workplace. If you are an older employee and suffer poor treatment at your job, age discrimination may be one of your first thoughts.
It is not always easy to determine that age discrimination is the driving motivation behind an employer’s actions. However, there are certain signs that may indicate the presence of age discrimination.
1. A shift in culture towards younger people
This does not refer to adopting more contemporary methods or investing in new technology. One form of age discrimination is replacing all of the older employees with younger ones. Employers may do this subtly by firing only older employees, laying them off with the reasoning that they make more so the company saves more by getting rid of them or offering to buy them out. At the same time, they may specifically look for employees who fall within a certain age group.
2. Sudden reassignment
Employers who want to get rid of older employees without firing them may “encourage” them to quit through tactics like forcing unpleasant duties on them or moving them to more undesirable roles. They do not want to face accusations of discrimination, so they may frame it as beneficial.
3. Previously praised work is now objectionable
A major sign of age discrimination is when an older employee who has a record of stellar work and outstanding performance reviews begins to receive poor reports out of nowhere. Barring some obvious physical or mental disability that may impact performance, a drastic change in performance reviews is suspicious. It may indicate the start of a campaign to paint a worker as doing a bad job as an excuse to fire him or her.
Age discrimination is not uncommon. However, it is illegal, and those who face it have legal recourse.