You were a loyal employee, but now you find yourself out of a job. You applied for a different position in the restructured team for which your knowledge and skills are a perfect fit, but the company declined to give you the job. However, you were asked to train the 21-year-old who is essentially taking over your duties. You were just shy of your pension planning goals and now are on the job hunt at 59.
It’s embarrassing, stressful and leaves you questioning if there is anything you can do to earn a paycheck.
You are not alone. Last year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received a total of 20,857 complaints of age discrimination.
While a degree of reasonable discernment on the part of an employer in regards to hiring practices is allowed, age discrimination is never permissible.
This type of discrimination, which involves treating an employee (or applicant) less favorably because of his or her age, comes in many forms. You may have been a victim of age discrimination if you are over 40 years old and:
- You are wrongfully cited for performance issues by your employer due to your age.
- You are laid off due to your age.
- You are overlooked or ignored for a promotion due to your age while younger and less skilled employees are promoted.
- You are denied health or pension benefits due to your age.
- You are bullied because of your age by coworkers or your employer (jokes and ageist comments are illegal, but teasing within reason is allowed).
- You were pressured into retirement.
If you feel you have been unfairly treated in your work environment due to your age, you may still be unsure of whether you have an age discrimination case. Every situation is different. You should contact an employment attorney to discuss the particulars of your legal situation and see what avenue is best for you.