What Are The Signs Of Age Discrimination In The Workplace

What Are The Signs Of Age Discrimination In The Workplace?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed to protect all individuals from age discrimination in the workplace. Regardless of these federal protections, age discrimination and harassment are very common. According to the most recent statistics compiled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 16,911 charges of age discrimination were filed in 2018.

If you believe you have experienced age discrimination in the workplace, please read below. We will discuss several examples of what age discrimination in the workplace looks like.

Being Isolated Or Left Out

An employer or direct supervisor may start leaving you out of important meetings or exclude you from decision making. They may move your desk far away from your team members, which can make it difficult or impossible to contribute and be a valuable teammate.

In the worst scenario, an employer may force you to work from home or even move you to a different location, which can become a major disruption and financial burden.

Facing Age Based Harassment

An employer who is “playfully” calling you names or harassing you about your age is possibly trying to get you to quit. It’s much easier for an employer to harass someone into quitting than it is to fire them, especially when the reason for firing someone is based on his or her age, which is illegal.

The Company Only Hires Young Employees

If you notice that an employer only seems to hire young people, it might not be your imagination. Most employers will never admit it, but they are exclusively in search of younger workers. This approach is usually motivated by misconceptions about older workers’ ability, work pace, or sociability/relatability.

It is important for older job applicants and employees to understand that employers sometimes use the term overqualified as an excuse to engage in age discrimination. In short, it is against the law for an employer to refuse to hire an older person because the employer believes he or she is overqualified and may become dissatisfied and leave the job.

Not Being Given Any Challenging Tasks

Another way an employer may gradually force an older employee to quit is by minimizing their workload to the point of redundancy or by not giving them any real challenging work. This can easily frustrate or demoralize an employee and make them appear less useful and not as valuable to the company’s success.

Being Denied A Promotion

Say that you were turned down for an important promotion that went to a younger worker who was not as qualified as you. This could be evidence of age discrimination. Also, if you are able to demonstrate a pattern of older workers being routinely passed up for promotions that only go to younger, less qualified workers, your age discrimination claim will appear that much stronger.

Being Forced to Retire

It is common for a business to offer a retirement package to an older employee as an ”incentive” to retire. For financial reasons, these retirement packages are typically hard to turn down. And even if an employee rejects a retirement package and chooses to continue working, the company may still go ahead and fire them.


Layoffs are normal for all businesses. However, if your employer only seems to lay off older employees, this may be enough to prove age discrimination. Layoffs have several legal requirements and most companies know it makes business sense to dilute layoff groups by mixing in a few younger employees to mask their true intentions.

Your Position Is Eliminated

It is one of the most common age discrimination practices to eliminate a job by changing its job title. For example, an employer may claim your position is being eliminated, but will immediately hire someone younger to manage the same job tasks — except that the younger employee is given a brand new title. 

Employment Improvement Plan

Say that you routinely received excellent performance reviews and had no disciplinary issues. If you are then unexpectedly placed on an employment improvement plan, that may be an indicator that your employer is looking for a legal way to terminate you.

Age Discrimination Scenarios

1) Sally had an appointment with a job recruiter yesterday. Sally was immediately met with a look of disappointment when the recruiter saw how old she was. The recruiter told her that most employers preferred a recent college graduate, because they haven’t developed as many bad work habits yet. 

Sally was devastated. She offered to work for lower wages, but the recruiter countered by saying that older workers are not very technologically savvy. Sally then explained that she was familiar with Word, Excel, and most basic computer programs, but was still turned away.

2) John was let go after 20 years of hard work because his company decided to restructure. At the time, he was the oldest and best paid designer in his department. Despite being the hardest working and most experienced team member, he was still let go. 

Since then, John has gone on several interviews. And despite being as talented as anyone, he is met with strange looks when people see how old he really is. He has not received a single job offer. John is now worried that he may never work again. 

What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?

If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The age discrimination lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling age discrimination cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.

We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with an age discrimination attorney in California, contact our office at 1-800-247-9235.

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