Age discrimination in the workplace is a problem that is becoming more common as the population of working baby boomers are aging. Sometimes it is hard to see signs of discrimination and ageism as it comes in many forms, but below are some common signs of age discrimination in the workplace:
- Inappropriate comments: This can come in several forms. There are more obvious comments such as if an employee or a superior refers to the victim as “grandma/grandpa” or “old man/woman”. Pressing comments and questions about the victim’s possible upcoming retirement is a form of verb harassment as well. Broader comments about how the head of the comment is insistent on a “younger” company image can be considered discrimination as well.
- Unfair promotions: Employers may refuse to hire or promote older individuals. Usually this is hard to tell as discrimination on its own but when put in context, such as a younger but less experienced/skilled individual gets the job or promotion over someone older, this is discrimination.
- Reassignments: Those who are victims of age discrimination might be subject to being assigned tasks that are unpleasant and no one wants, that could also be unreflecting of their experience and skills.
- Unjustified negative performance reviews: If an individual has proven that they worked hard and produced quality work but still receives negative performance reviews, this is a form of age discrimination.
- Pay: Age discrimination could take form in an experienced older individual being paid the same or even less than someone of the same (or less) experience that is of a younger age. Also lack of pay raises may indicate discrimination as well.
- Hirings and firings: It is suspicious if a company begins to buyout, fire, or layoff older employees and begins hiring exclusively younger individuals.
If you detect any signs of age discrimination, record them and try your best to have witnesses to make your case stronger in the case that you want to take legal action.