3 signs of ageism in the workplace

Discrimination in the workplace occurs in many ways, i.e., gender, religion, sexual, age, etc. Most workers are not too aware of how rampant ageism can be. Employees over the age of 40 are more likely than their younger counterparts to experience adverse employment actions that can lead to harassment and wrongful termination.

Employers may have their reasons for hiring a younger workforce. However, mistreating or firing older workers to employ, promote and give preferential treatment to younger employees is a form of unlawful discrimination called ageism. Here are a few signs of age discrimination everyone should know.

Layoffs and buyouts

A common practice that employers use to force older workers out of their positions is to lay them off and offer them an early or attractive buyout package. While it layoffs happen all the time, those done for the sole purpose of hiring younger workers is illegal.

Job reassignment

Some employers reassign older workers with tasks the younger workforce finds unpleasant, demeaning and beneath them. These tasks are not always a good fit for older workers' skills and previous job experience, and they can make work so unpleasant that older workers quit.

Deteriorating job performance reviews and benefits

Another way some employers discriminate against older workers is by giving poor performance reviews and passing them up for promotions and pay raises. Less than favorable performance reviews alone do not always indicate ageism. However, it is likely when the reviews suddenly turn from positive to negative without a valid reason, and the worker is over the age of 50.

Ageism is not always easy to identify, and it is even harder to prove. It is imperative for workers to keep documentation of all questionable and inappropriate practices that affect their right to employment in a safe and harassment-free workplace. They should also gather witnesses and report all infractions, no matter how minor they may seem.

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