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A target on your back: Signs of age discrimination at work

Everyone’s days are numbered, but your days at work may be nearly over if you become a victim of age discrimination on the job.

Employees who are aged 40 and older belong to a federally-protected class of people and are guaranteed protection against discrimination based on their age alone.

However, that doesn’t stop some employers from trying to discriminate against them anyhow. As the Baby Boomers age out of the workforce and Generation X becomes grandparents, Millennials are the youngest employees out there — and some employers don’t want to wait around to hire all that young (and inexpensive) talent.

Here are signs that age discrimination is going on:

  • Your company starts offering older workers buyouts or seems to be firing older employees at a rapid place, only to have younger employees take their place.
  • You become the subject of comments based on your age, particularly from your boss. That includes questions or comments about how soon you should retire.
  • You’re passed up for promotion in favor of a less-qualified (but much younger) candidate.
  • You’re reassigned to a position that’s less desirable or outright humiliating. For example, you get bumped from your cubicle and are given a desk in the back of the office and given the filing to do.
  • Work is being taken off of you, despite your good performance, and given to younger employees.
  • The company keeps “restructuring,” but it seems like all that really happens is an older employee is let go because his or her job “no longer exists.” Yet, a younger employee is hired to do the same job under a new title.
  • Your performance reviews suddenly plummet. Unless your work has actually changed in quality, it’s unlikely that you suddenly became a problem employee overnight.

Age discrimination is a very real problem in the workplace. It can be very difficult for an employee who becomes the victim of age discrimination to recover if he or she is fired. That makes it important not to wait to seek advice if you suspect you’re wearing a target.

Source: AOL Careers, “Nine Signs of Age Discrimination,” Donna Ballman, accessed Jan. 26, 2018

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