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Spotting unlawful age discrimination at work

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Employment Law |

Age discrimination in the workplace is a serious issue that most often affects older employees as they age. This kind of mistreatment can potentially limit their career opportunities, affect their job security and diminish their ability to maintain their dignity in the workplace. 

In Florida, recognizing the signs of unlawful age discrimination is important for employees who (very understandably) want to safeguard their rights under both federal and state laws. Federal law protects workers  40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age, and Florida’s own laws reinforce these protections. 

Common manifestations

Several indicators may suggest that age discrimination is occurring at your workplace.

One of the first places you might spot potential age discrimination is in job postings and hiring practices. Advertisements that specify a preference for younger applicants, such as those seeking “new graduates” or those who are “digitally fluent” can be a red flag. Similarly, if you notice that your company predominantly hires younger employees, despite older candidates with comparable or superior qualifications, this could suggest discriminatory hiring practices based on age.

Once older workers are “in the door,” they may remain less valued than younger workers. If older employees are consistently excluded from training opportunities and professional development programs, or they are not provided with resources to advance their skills, this may be an indication of age discrimination. Employers who assume older workers are not interested in career growth, or who reserve such opportunities only for younger employees, are potentially engaging in discriminatory practices.

Finally, age discrimination can manifest in “winding down” approaches, such as reductions in key responsibilities, changes to less desirable job assignments or a seeming inability to be promoted in favor of younger employees with less experience might also signal age discrimination. In situations of layoffs or company reorganizations, if older employees are predominantly the ones being let go, this could be a sign of age-based discrimination. It’s particularly suspect if these employees are replaced by younger ones at lower salaries.

Ultimately, recognizing the signs of age discrimination that target older members of the workforce is the first step in taking action to address and rectify this unlawful behavior. If you believe you are a victim of age discrimination, you may benefit from seeking personalized guidance to better understand your rights and options under the law accordingly.