In an ideal professional environment, employers reward team members for years of long-term service and loyalty. In some workplaces, this is, unfortunately, not the case. It is not uncommon for older employees to experience discrimination because of their age.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) upholds federal law regarding discrimination. If you believe your supervisor or coworkers are treating you poorly, and you are age 40 or older, you may have grounds to pursue litigation.
How the law protects you
In 1967, Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This law protects individuals during the hiring and termination process. It stipulates that employers cannot make these decisions based on how old you are. In a landscape where seniors often struggle to find employment, the EEOC aims to make this process less unfair.
The ADEA also includes items regarding treatment during the time you hold your position. Some employers may make working conditions undesirable in the hopes that you will quit on your own. This practice is just as unlawful as termination due to age.
How employers discriminate
When others mistreat you at work, you may believe these are simply mean-spirited people. Take a moment to observe how those same individuals interact with others younger than you. Colleagues and supervisors may subject you, and only you, to the following examples of discrimination:
- Lack of merit increases
- Inaccurate performance evaluations
- Derogatory comments
- Unfair work duties
It is also not right to single you out, even if done in a neutral manner. For example, designating certain areas of the workspace to older employees is wrongful segregation, even if it is not meant maliciously.
How to seek recourse
Gather as much evidence as you can to help support your claim. This may include phone messages, emails or any other written example of mistreatment. Document verbal comments to the best of your ability. Not all human resources departments will cooperate with you, especially if officials in that office are key players in the discrimination. Legal counsel can help you get the outcome you deserve.