Employment Discrimination Blog

Friday, April 29, 2022

How to Spot Ageism in the Workplace

The workplace should never be a place for discrimination. Unfortunately, for far too many people it’s a reality. Often fearing job loss or retaliation, many fail to report inappropriate behavior – even if they are protected from it under the law.

Under state and federal law, workers are protected from different types of discrimination. One such type of discrimination is age discrimination. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), employees who are 40 years of age or older are protected from age-based discrimination throughout the entire employment process: hiring, promoting, discharge, compensation, terms or conditions or privileges. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the ADEA.

So how do you know if you are facing ageism in the workplace? Here are three common signs that this may just be the case.

1. Someone makes a blatant and biased comment.

It may seem obvious, but one of the three most common signs of ageism in the workplace is when someone makes a blatant comment that is biased in nature. Sure, your co-workers or your boss many claim that they are joking when they refer to you as an “old lady,” but it doesn’t mean it’s only a joke.

If you find that anyone begins to call you names or ask about your retirement, it may be a sign of ageism. It’s important that you keep track of all comments made. Write them down and make a record of who said what, on what date, what time, and under which circumstances.

2. Younger employees are treated better than older ones.

Another common sign of ageism is when younger employees are treated better than their older counterparts. However, it’s not automatically ageism if someone younger than you receives preferential treatment. If you start to notice patterns of behavior, such as older employees being paid less than younger ones or being laid off while their younger co-workers are promoted, this may signal age discrimination.

The same thing goes if you start to notice that older employees are being left out of meetings, or younger employees are being given more/better opportunities, equipment, etc. If this is the case, you should again take notes; the more specific the notes that you record, the better.

3. Your efforts are suddenly downplayed.

Finally, the last common sign of ageism in the workplace is when your employer suddenly begins to downplay your efforts. If you have worked really hard, done a good job, and done everything you can to be successful and your boss begins to provide you with negative performance reviews or begins writing you up for things that were never before an issue, it could be a sign of age discrimination. Also take note of whether your co-workers’ or boss’s attitudes change once you reach a certain age, as this can be indicative of ageism as well.

The GA Employment Law Attorneys at Pankey & Horlock, LLC Can Help

If you believe that you have been the recipient of age discrimination in the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation. However, in order to win your case, it’s important that you seek the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced Georgia employment law attorney, who can help to point you in the right direction. Understanding the law and the evidence necessary to prove your case is key. Otherwise, you may not know how to proceed.

Fortunately, the attorneys at Pankey & Horlock, LLC understand the importance of such cases and are here to help. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

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