Five ways to prove you’ve been subjected to age discrimination

Five ways to prove you’ve been subjected to age discrimination

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Employment Law - Employee

If you’re age 40 or older, then you have specific workplace protections shielding you from age discrimination. This means that your employer can’t make decisions about job assignment, promotion, demotion, pay, and termination based on your age.

Yet, employers engage in age discrimination all the time. The consequences can be devastating for workers, too, stunting their careers and stripping them of the income they deserve. If you’ve been subjected to an adverse employment decision, then you might be wondering if it’s the result of age discrimination. By showing that it was, you can pursue a legal claim that seeks to hold your employer accountable and recover the compensation that you deserve.

A lot of workers fail to identify signs of age discrimination. They make the mistake of writing off discriminatory behavior as one-offs or tied to something else other than their age. Don’t fall into that trap. Instead, be on the lookout for these signs that you’ve been discriminated against based on your age:

  • You’ve been unfairly subjected to discipline: Discipline should be handled consistently across all workers. All too often, though, employers let younger workers off with a warning or don’t intervene at all while formally disciplining an older worker for the same actions. If you’ve seen this inconsistency play out and you’ve paid the price as a result, then there’s a good chance that you’ve been the victim of age discrimination.
  • You’ve been subjected to harassment: Many older workers brush off jokes about their age. But when derogatory comments create a hostile work environment and you’re hit with an adverse employment decision or retaliation for trying to bring the harassment to a stop, then you’ve been subjected to age discrimination.
  • There’s disparate treatment in promotion practices: Your employer should promote individuals who are the best fit for the position, taking into account each applicant’s qualifications. If your employer routinely passes over highly qualified candidates with extensive experience for younger, less experienced applicants, then you might be able to demonstrate that your employer has engaged in discriminatory practices.
  • Polices have a disparate impact: Not all discrimination is intentional. Sometimes employers implement workplace policies and practices that seem neutral on their face but that negatively impact those of a protected class, such as older workers. This can be hard to show, but if you present evidence and statistics as to disparate impact, then you could make a convincing discrimination case.
  • You’re consistently excluded: In some instances, employers exclude older workers from key meetings, lunches, trainings, and other workplace events that could be pivotal to your role or your career advancement. If you’re kept out of these activities while younger workers are frequently invited to them, such evidence can be used to support an age discrimination case.

Age discrimination is more common than most people think. Yet, employers often get away with it because those affected by it don’t take the aggressive steps necessary to hold discriminating employers accountable. But you can and should stand up to have your voice heard.

You can do this by tracking instances of discrimination, talking to others in the workplace who have witnessed or experienced discrimination, and reading up on the law. By diligently assessing the facts of your case, you might be able to craft compelling and persuasive legal arguments that put you on track to recovering what you’re owed. So, if you’re ready to stand up for yourself, then now is the time to take action.