5 Signs You Are a Victim of Ageism in the Workplace
It may start as jokes about when you’re due to retire or with a sudden and inexplicably negative performance review. Recognize these five signs you are the victim of ageism in the workplace.
Demotions and Reassignments
Employers who are scheming to replace older workers with younger, less expensive ones sometimes try to drive experienced workers out with demotions or unpleasant reassignments of duties. If you’ve been working on plum assignments with frequent client contact, and suddenly you’re doing research for a younger employee’s reports, your employer might be trying to get you to quit, to avoid terminating you and facing a discrimination lawsuit.
Sudden Drops in Performance Evaluations
If you’ve been meeting or exceeding all your performance goals but your supervisor is finding creative ways to lower your performance evaluations, it could signal the beginning of a campaign to oust you from your job.
To prove age discrimination, you must show that your job performance is satisfactory, but your employer took adverse action against you anyway, and that younger employees in similar positions were given more favorable treatment. Employers try to protect themselves from age discrimination cases by building a record, even a spurious one, of sub-par job performance.
Buyouts and Retirements Replaced by Younger Workers
When the ranks of your similarly aged peers begin to thin, and the positions they previously occupied are taken by younger workers, you could be witnessing a concerted effort by your employer to purge older employees.
Layoffs that disproportionately affect older workers could signal age discrimination. Document your observations, keep your skills up to date, and volunteer for challenging assignments to show your commitment to your company’s success.
Negative Assumptions About Technical Ability
The image of the Silicon Valley start-up filled with young hipsters in black turtlenecks permeates some IT companies and departments. Even though Boomers invented most of the infrastructure and operating systems that supported the development of most of the business technology currently in use, employers seem to think their IT departments must project a youthful appearance.
If your technical skills are up-to-date but your employer questions your abilities anyway, you may be the object of ageism.
Speaking in Code
Watch for job announcements that describe a workplace as “energetic” or “youthful,” or that plainly state they are seeking “recent graduates.”
When colleagues or supervisors openly start questioning you about your retirement plans, you may sense an ageist target on your back.
If you suspect ageism at your workplace, consult an age discrimination lawyer who can help you sort suspicion from unlawful action and determine if you have a case for illegal age discrimination.