While older workers should be valued for their wisdom and experience, this is not always the case. Some workplaces are quite hostile towards older workers, to the point where steps are taken to oust aging employees over a younger, less expensive staff. If you’re concerned that you’re the victim of age discrimination, AARP recommends looking for the following signs.
Diminishing performance reviews
Performance reviews detail a worker’s strengths and weaknesses, while also being used to make determinations about raises and promotions. If you received consistently positive reviews but are now the subject of negative feedback, even if your performance hasn’t changed, it could be due to age. This is often the case when a company is under new management, as the goal may be to swap out the existing staff for younger workers. Keep records of all performance reviews and also document any positive responses you receive from co-workers or higher-ups. This can go a long way to establish unfair treatment.
Questions about retirement
You should never feel pressured to retire. Unfortunately, this occurs at a lot of workplaces, and questions about retirement may even be framed as a joke. Make it explicitly clear that you do not plan to retire, both in person and via email. That way you have a record of the conversation if you ever need to file a lawsuit regarding age discrimination. You can also ask any witnesses to the conversation to provide a statement.
Duties begin to change
If you suddenly get reassigned to duties that are well below your pay grade, take it as a bad sign. Some employers will try to create an unpleasant environment for older workers by giving them duties that are suited to entry-level employees. The goal is to goad the older worker into quitting without incurring any legal recrimination. If you feel you’re not suited to a given task, speak up. If the issue persists and you’re subject to other forms of age discrimination, it may be time to consult with an attorney.