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3 warning signs of company discrimination against older workers

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2023 | Employment Law |

Age discrimination can affect youthful workers but is often a particularly serious concern for workers over the age of 40. Those who have years of experience in the workforce often find themselves receiving inappropriate treatment from their current employer or prospective employers when applying for new work due to a sense that their services are too expensive or are risky in ways that the services of younger workers are not.

Age discrimination is sometimes overt and can sometimes manifest in subtle ways. These are some of the warning signs that a company does not treat workers over a certain age the same as they do the rest of their staff. When one or more of these concerns arises in a workplace, it’s time to start looking for additional overt and/or subtle forms of age-based mistreatment and to seek legal guidance accordingly.

Promoting up-and-coming workers only

There is something to be said about the wisdom that comes from many years of working in a particular industry and the loyalty that older workers have displayed by committing years of their lives to the same organization. Unfortunately, companies often prioritize younger employees for promotions. When an organization consistently promotes those in their 20s or 30s ahead of those in their 40s or beyond, that is likely a sign that the company unfairly discriminates against mature workers in favor of youthful ones.

Turning a blind eye to tactless jokes

Many professionals at or past the age of 40 work hard to continue educating themselves and developing their professional abilities. They are just as likely as their younger counterparts to master company software and engage and continue education. However, coworkers and even management at the business might make jokes implying the opposite. From cracks about someone’s inability to use software to coworkers nicknaming someone grandpa, there are many tasteless jokes that may demonstrate that a company tolerates an environment hostile to older employees.

Questionable discipline and performance review practices

One of the ways that an organization can obfuscate discriminatory practices is through progressive discipline or claims of declining performance. Therefore, if a company targets certain workers to push out of their jobs, there will likely be a change in attitude from management and human resources. Older workers who know that they have continued to perform at the same level may receive negative performance reviews or write-ups that seem patently unfair. These are potential signs that a company intends to demote or even terminate an older worker and wants to protect itself against claims of discrimination when it does so.

Workers who believe they have experienced age discrimination may need to start documenting the matter. If bringing it up to the company leads to retaliation or a failure to take action, then an older worker who is experiencing age discrimination may need to consider filing a lawsuit. Identifying practices that have a strong association with workplace age discrimination may help people better stand up for themselves and the careers that they have spent so much time developing.