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Age Discrimination: A Growing Problem

When we think about discrimination, the things that often first come to mind are race, sex, religion or sexual orientation. But one serious and often overlooked form of discrimination is ageism.

The American population is growing older, and that means more people of all ages will take on a variety of jobs. And with the aging population comes more discrimination on the basis of age.

What Is Ageism?

As defined by U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, “Age discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee less favorably because of his or her age.”

Federal law prohibits the discrimination against anyone over the age of 40 in hiring, firing, gaining promotions, salary, assignments, layoffs, benefits, training or in any other aspects of employment.

The law also prohibits any harassment based on age that causes a hostile work environment. One-off comments, simple teasing and isolated incidents that aren’t very serious are not considered harassment.

How to Spot Age Discrimination

Signs you’re a victim of workplace age discrimination include:

  • Smaller and more infrequent raises
  • Inexplicably poor performance reviews
  • Reassignment to less important or unpleasant tasks
  • Buyouts, layoffs and firings for older employees as younger ones are being hired

Some signs of age discrimination are subtler than others. According to the Society for Human Resource Management phrases often used by employers to weed out older candidates in job advertisements include “digital native,” “high-energy,” “ninja and guru,” “bad cultural fit” or asking for a candidate’s GPA.

Fighting Ageism

If you believe that you’ve been the victim of ageism, don’t take it lying down. Age is only a number and does not restrict your capabilities.

As best you can, document instances in which you felt harassed or discriminated against because of age. This could include comments from coworkers or supervisors, unfairly critical performance reviews or replacement by a younger employee. This information combined with the help of an employment attorney can help you understand your options and pursue a legal claim, if appropriate.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Professional and Knowledgeable Attorney. At what was supposed to be the highest point in my career suddenly became the most harassing and lowest point of my career and I was passed over for a promotion. Not because the other person was more qualified than I was, but because I followed the law and did the right thing and the people I worked for did not like that. After researching several attorneys, my wife and I found Claudia, and the decision to retain her was the best decision we ever made. After explaining our case to Claudia, we found that she was not only extremely professional but a very caring human being. Throughout the entire process of our case, Claudia was there with us every step of the way. She explained every single proceeding that we had to go through and guided us, not only as a professional attorney in and out of court, but personally as a caring and understanding person. Because of her extensive working knowledge of employment and labor laws, Claudia was able to successfully resolve our case. My wife and I will always be extremely grateful for Claudia’s hard work and dedication, and we highly recommend Claudia Reis to anyone seeking an attorney who practices in employment and labor laws." John
★★★★★
"Professionalism, integrity, and determination. Outstanding representation! Chris Lenzo did an outstanding job in my employment discrimination case. He responded to my questions in a timely fashion, provided clear communication through each step of the process, and handled my case in an honest and straight forward manner. Chris’s expertise in employment law along with his hard work ensured justice would prevail in my case and got me the compensation I deserved. Likewise, Chris’s law firm staff was professional, courteous, organized, and effective. I highly recommend Chirs Lenzo’s firm to anyone with an employment legal matter in New Jersey or New York." Sofia
★★★★★
"Remarkable professional. I have worked with Ms. Reis and her firm for the past three years. During the consultation process, you will immediately experience her compassion as she offers suggestions and guides you through the difficult situation you are dealing with. Her attention to detail, timely follow up and candid manner ensured me that I was well-protected and represented. Ms. Reis always went above and beyond to protect me legally. She is a very strong and tough (when necessary) advocate for the individual she represents. Her support staff is equally diligent. I would recommend her without reservation." A.M.