Could your employer be discriminating against you based on your age?

You’ve diligently held your role in the organization for a decade or two. In fact, you’ve been named the “Employee of the Month” several times. However, you’ve recently noticed a worrying trend: what began as a harmless comment about your age is going overboard. Could it be what you are thinking?

While both state and federal laws prohibit all forms of discrimination, age discrimination remains a huge problem in most workplaces. Basically, age discrimination happens when an employee or a potential employee is treated differently (usually unfavorably) thanks to their age. If you believe your employer is discriminating against you based on your age, you deserve justice. But how do you prove age discrimination at work?

Understanding the signs of age discrimination at work

To file a complaint and litigate discrimination, you need evidence. In other words, you need to look out for and document incidents when your employer treated you less favorably due to your age. Here are two questions that can help you identify age discrimination at work. 

Is your boss or someone in authority repeatedly bringing up the subject of your age when assigning duties?

Remarks like, “you are too old to attend this training program” or “this role is reserved for younger and more energetic team members” might not sound like a big deal. However, they may be degrading when they are routinely coming from someone in power. If an employer cites age as the basis for assigning roles, then this might amount to discrimination.

Did a potential employer turn your job application down?

An employer has the discretion to hire whoever they want. However, they may not decline to hire a qualified potential employee on the basis of their age or any other protected characteristic. If a potential employer explicitly makes it clear that they couldn’t hire you because you are too old, you have a right to take legal action against them. 

An employer or potential employer should never treat you differently on account of your age If they do, you may file a discrimination claim against them.

super lawyers
New York County Lawyers Association
New York City Bar
NELA Advocates for Employee Rights National Employment Lawyers Association
lead counsel lc verified