After years or even decades on the job, some workers are suddenly finding themselves unemployed, laid off for reasons they may not completely understand. You may worry that this will happen to you. You may feel frustrated and confused if your work evaluations have been good until recently or you see others your age receiving termination notices even though the business doesn’t seem to be falling on any hard times that would necessitate a layoff.
Because you are older than 40, you may fear that the sudden changes in the way your company treats you have something to do with your age. Maybe you’ve noticed red flags in recent months, and now you’re starting to put the pieces together. If you feel you may be the victim of age discrimination, you certainly want to know for sure so you can take appropriate action.
What does age discrimination look like?
Federal and Arizona state laws protect you from age discrimination if you are age 40 or older. Additionally, you may work in a city or county that has its own laws protecting older workers from unfair treatment. However, age discrimination can still be difficult to pinpoint and prove. Keeping a log will help you see any patterns in the behaviors of your boss or coworkers that may be considered discriminatory, including the following:
- Rude comments referring to you as old or implying that your productive days have passed
- Laying off other workers, a large percentage of whom are older than 40
- Uneven disciplinary actions aimed at you and other older workers when younger workers make the same mistakes with impunity
- Managers passing you over for promotions or raises you deserve
- A sudden, inexplicable drop in your performance review ratings
Any number of these factors could spell out discrimination; however, the company you work for may have an explicit policy dealing with discrimination and other types of harassment. If such a policy exists, you should report the behavior to the company administration or human resources and give them an opportunity to correct the situation. Skipping this step could jeopardize any discrimination claim you may have in civil court.
Something else that could threaten your claim is simply resigning and leaving if things are getting unbearable. If you have reported the harassment and the behavior continues, you have every right to contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about filing a claim. Additionally, an Arizona employment law attorney may be able to guide you in the best course of action.
To learn more about these matters, please see our EEOC process overview.