In most societies, people are taught to respect their elders as they have more life experience than their younger counterparts. That being said, many older adults experience age discrimination in the workplace, and without the right tools, it may be hard to recognize when it happens. And it is essential to note that age discrimination is illegal, which is why this article will review five of the most common types of age discrimination in the workplace.

Isolation of Older Employees

Isolation in a workplace may look like an older employee not being invited to new training. It can also appear as an employer spending more time and energy on younger employees. This isolation can make everything else difficult, such as missing out on promotion and making connections, which will be discussed later. It can also cause the employee’s productivity to plummet; in some cases, this is done on purpose so an employer can find a reason to fire them.

Little to No Advancement Opportunities

You may also notice that older employees get little to no promotions or compensation increases compared to younger employees. This becomes obvious when younger employees with little experience are getting the promotions older and more experienced employees should have received. If you notice that workers are not advancing based on qualification and experience, it may be worth looking into an employment age discrimination lawyer.

Disproportionate Hiring and Layoffs

Companies may target older employees first when they need to make cuts to increase their budget and pay other expenses. It is illegal to fire a person based on their age. If you notice an older employee is fired and a younger one takes their place, this could signify age discrimination. This is especially so if the older employee once in that position was great at their job and had a lot of experience.

Unfair Disciplinary Action

Treating an older worker unfairly as opposed to a younger employee should be investigated. This is especially so with disciplinary action. Employees may even use disciplinary action to cover up their discriminatory actions and have a reason to fire you. In these cases, it is always important to look or ask around and see how others who made the same mistakes were treated. It may be as little as having a stricter supervisor or as serious as age discrimination.

Age-Based Harassment

It is important to note that harassment may not seem as obvious as someone referring to an older employee as a “geezer” or “boomer.” Ageist jokes, comments, or phrases such as “fresh blood” or even “overqualified” should be paid attention to. However, it can even be as apparent as an employer asking you why you haven’t retired yet. This should be paid attention to, especially if it is in tandem with other forms of discrimination on this list.

Any form of discrimination, big or small, is undeserved. And now that you know the five types of age discrimination in the workplace, you’re better equipped to recognize if you are being discriminated against so you can seek proper compensation.

This story was originally reported by Emilie Shumway in HR Dive.

Dive Brief:

For those engaged in DEI work, a major focus is ensuring that public proclamations translate into meaningful progress behind the scenes. Holder said her client's claim is an example of a failure to take such work seriously.

"What I'm determined to show is that now this creates another layer of liability beyond just discrimination," Holder told HR Dive via phone on Tuesday. "These companies are engaging in negligent conduct … they are claiming to be something that they aren't."

According to the complaint, the employee received recognition for good work before her dismissal, including a Manager of the Year award and several excellent performance reviews. She was 1 of 6 Black employees selected from among the company's approximately 50,000 workers to participate in the McKinsey Black Leadership Academy Management Accelerator Program, the complaint noted.

She was also "paraded around" as a face of diversity, Holder said. She was asked by Republic to write a letter in defense of the company when a Teamster chapter vice president referred to it as a "plantation owner." Republic displayed the letter throughout the workplace, the complaint said.

Despite these accolades, and assurances she would be promoted, the worker was passed over for a less qualified, White, male employee, the complaint alleged. It cited two examples of other female workers of color who also were passed over for "less-qualified males." The employee also complained of racist language in the workplace, including a co-worker referring to Black drivers as "dem boys," among other racially motived comments.

In lodging complaints, the employee followed the procedures that had been laid out in a flow chart, Holder said, and "did everything she was supposed to do." She used the employer's "AWARE line," Holder added, which Republic describes as a toll-free employee hotline that "is available for all employees to raise concerns if they are uncomfortable speaking directly with their supervisors or any other member of management or wish to remain anonymous."

"They investigated her instead of her complaints," Holder said. The employee was terminated approximately one month later for what Republic cited as "irreconcilable differences."

While Holder and her client are waiting for the EEOC to investigate, they intend to follow through on the case if the agency declines to pick it up. "We will be filing suit," Holder said. "We're not relying on the EEOC."


If you have information about Republic Services, please contact Tamara Holder at or 312-818-3850.

ATLANTA , Feb. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A former Operations Manager for Republic Services (NYSE: RSG) has filed a charge with the EEOC, alleging the company disregarded her complaints of discrimination, and then fired her in retaliation.

The former manager, who is a 57-year-old, disabled, Black female, is seeking federal and state investigations into Republic's corporate culture, from the top down. For example, she alleges that CEO John Vander Ark made a misleading public statement, during racial unrest following the death of George Floyd, falsely claiming that Republic is committed to "inclusiveness and equality."

"Dem boys are going to do what I say" - accusation alleges pervasive racist language by white supervisor.

The former manager, who had "exceeded expectations" in her annual performance reviews for seven years in a row, alleges Republic Services promised her a promotion for nearly two years, only to use her as its face-of-diversity token. For example, Republic asked her to help its lawyers in negotiations with the Teamsters, who were calling for an end to "Republic's plantation mentality." But after negotiations were over, rather than keep its promise, Republic promoted a less-experienced, less-senior white male.

She further alleges Republic decorated her with recognition as a tactic to quiet her complaints. For example, Republic invited her to join the exclusive McKinsey Black Leadership program, as just 1 of 6 Black employees in the entire company, while, at the same time, ignoring her complaints, including:

Her supervisor, a white male, repeatedly referred to Black male frontline workers as "dem boys."

During a meeting, her supervisor, a white male, instructed Black supervisors to "push back" on police when a driver was being issued a ticket. When a Black employee objected to this order, the white male supervisor laughed and said, "We wouldn't want you to be dragged."

When she warned her supervisor, a white male, that a truck was too dangerous to operate, he told her, "Dem boys are going to do what I tell them to do." A few weeks later, the truck rolled over in the landfill, injuring a Black employee.

Her supervisors were manipulating employee surveys documenting employees' feelings on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Republic fired her for "irreconcilable differences" despite having just deemed her, via a highly-acclaimed corporate assessment program, "top talent, ready now for the next role."

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