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Not sure if you are the victim of age discrimination?

Perhaps you have been working for the same California company for years. During that time, you got a sense for how certain supervisors and managers would be as they came and went. Some you like and worked well with, but others you did not.

Now, you have a superior whom you suspect may want you gone or otherwise resents you because of your age. You may need to take some time to analyze your interactions with him or her and really listen to the things he or she says. By doing so, you could help confirm your suspicions, which will help you make a decision regarding what to do next.

What should you look for?

The problem with most discrimination is that it takes place subtly. Perpetrators of the discrimination could theoretically explain their behavior or comments as misunderstandings. However, certain clues, such as those below, could give away that you are the victim of age discrimination:

  • Did you suddenly receive a poor performance review after years of good reviews even though you have not changed your work habits and your superiors appear happy with your performance?
  • Did your supervisor or manager recently demote you, alleging your performance was not up to par?
  • Do your superiors categorize you and other older workers as being "set in your ways?"
  • Do they refer to younger workers as "fresh faces," "new blood" or "energetic?"
  • If layoffs occur, is the company letting go a disproportionate number of older workers?
  • Do superiors afford younger workers more opportunities for advancement, new projects and other benefits over you and other older workers?
  • Do your superiors socialize with the younger workers and/or exclude you from these gatherings?
  • Does someone make demeaning, hurtful or degrading ageist comments to the point where it creates a hostile work environment?
  • Do your superiors assume you aren't up on the latest technologies, such as smartphones, social media and more?

If you experience one or more of the above on a consistent basis, your suspicions of age discrimination could have merit. Before taking any steps to deal with the situation, you may benefit greatly from discussing it with an experienced employment law attorney. You can gain an understanding of your rights and an explanation of your legal options.

More than likely, you will need to begin your complaint process from within the company. In the days, weeks and months thereafter, you may find yourself the victim of some form of retaliation. Keep track of these instances as well, because that, too, violates federal and state law. If you know what you are getting into, you are more likely to stick with it in order to defend your rights and possibly prevent anyone else from going through the same ordeal.

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