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Spotting age discrimination in the workplace

If you’ve reached the age where you think more about your plans for retirement than you do your next career move, you may be looking forward to the stability your age brings to your life at work.

Unfortunately, your time left on the job may end up being shorter than you anticipate — particularly if your employer has an idea that it would be better for the company to move older employees “out of the way” of newer, younger employees.

Why do employers think like this? Why would they trade an older, stable employee with years of experience and a solid track record for a yet-untested employee who may make several career changes in the next decade or two? The decision often has to do with nothing more than a sort of cultural bias that Americans tend to have that favors the young and puts older employees at a disadvantage.

How do you spot ageism in the workplace? Look for these signs:

1.) There’s a change in the company culture

When a company starts focusing on its culture and the culture seems to be reflective of today’s youth, that can be a problem for older workers. Suddenly, long-time employees may no longer fit with the company’s new vision for itself.

2.) Older employees are being pushed out

If a company starts offering buyouts and phasing out positions held by older workers, that could be a problem. Be particularly concerned that age discrimination is at work if all the new replacements are around the same (much younger) age.

3.) Your job changes for the worse

Experts say that this is often the biggest sign that you’re a victim of ageism. Unwanted changes to your duties, hours or some other aspect of your job may signal that your boss is trying to force you to quit or retire.

4.) Your reviews go down and the raises vanish

If you’ve always been a stellar employee before, you didn’t suddenly become mediocre at your job. Poor job reviews and a lack of raises probably indicate that your employer is looking to push you out.

Nobody should be subjected to age discrimination at work. If you feel that you are suffering from a work environment that’s hostile to you because of your age or you were fired over your age, it may be wise to get an attorney’s take on the situation.

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