Older workers often bring years of experience to their jobs and make many other valuable contributions. However, older workers may face discrimination because of their age.
Age discrimination and harassment
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act makes it illegal for an employer with 20 or more employees to discriminate against people who are age 40 or older. Some people believe that age discrimination only applies in the hiring process, but it actually applies to any aspect of employment. This includes hiring, firing, promotions, training, benefits and other parts of employment.
It’s also against the law for an employer to harass a person because of his or her age. This can occur when the harassment becomes so frequent that it creates a hostile work environment or when it causes the victim to suffer an adverse employment decision, like being terminated or demoted.
Signs of discrimination
There are some signs of age discrimination that employees should be aware of. If younger workers are hired to replace older workers or if older workers are offered buyouts, it may be a sign that the employer is discriminating against employees based on age.
If an employer asks older workers when they plan to retire, they suddenly lower an older employee’s performance reviews or they reassign an older worker to a lower paid or less desirable role that may also be evidence of age discrimination.
Employees have a right to be free from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. If an employee has been discriminated against based on age, an experienced employment discrimination attorney can help.