Workplace discrimination occurs when an employer allows or participates in the unfair treatment of an employee simply because that employee belongs to a protected class. You may think of race, color and gender as the classes that most often receive this unfair treatment. However, perhaps you are beginning to suspect you are the victim of discriminatory treatment on the job.
If you are 40 years old or older, you may have many more years to offer at work, not to mention the experience and skills you have gained over the years. Nevertheless, these factors that were once appealing in an employee do not seem to garner much respect in some workplaces. You may not even be certain your Kentucky employer is discriminating against you. However just because age discrimination can be subtle does not mean it is any less devastating.
Subtle methods of age discrimination
Age is a protected class, and it is against the law for an employer to take any negative action against employees simply because they have reached the age of 40 or more. Nevertheless, more and more employees are finding themselves marginalized while younger, less experienced workers surge past them in the workplace. Your employer may not outright fire you, but he or she may do and encourage any of the following to make the workplace miserable for you:
- Making comments that imply you are slowing down or past your years of productivity, such as saying you look tired or making jokes about your age
- Passing responsibilities you previously held to younger workers
- Giving lucrative or challenging projects to younger employees
- Assuming you do not understand new technology
- Neglecting to invite you to critical meetings or functions where you may gain information that will help you advance
In fact, when you are out of the loop because of your age, your performance may drop. This may have nothing to do with your ability to do the job but only the fact that you do not have the information you need to excel. However, a bad review can give your employer the support to terminate you.
What can you do?
If you feel your employer is marginalizing you, it may be easy to give in to depression, anxiety or isolation. The better path may be to remain a positive force at work. Continue to learn about your industry and to accept challenges your job offers.
Meanwhile, keep careful notes of the actions that may indicate age discrimination. You may even wish to discuss your findings with an attorney to learn if there are other steps you can take to combat the unfair treatment you are receiving at work.