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Are You a Victim of Workplace Age Discrimination?

Employees are protected from workplace discrimination based on a variety of factors, including their age. As long as someone is able to perform his or her job duties, laws protect against negative treatment based on age. Age-related discrimination is illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”).

Age discrimination can be obvious, but it can also be subtle, such as being passed over for a promotion or terminated in favor of someone younger. It’s even possible for a person to face age discrimination without ever being hired by a company, which is the case if someone completely qualified for a position is passed over in favor of a younger, less qualified person.

Other examples of age discrimination in the workplace include:

• Laying off or terminating only the oldest employees in a company
• Pressuring older employees to retire
• Commenting on an older employee’s ability to perform the job
• Excluding an older employee from work-related events, such as meetings or group projects
• Disciplining older employees more harshly than younger employees
• Refusing to promote older employees despite their qualifications and experience

Age Discrimination Laws Don’t Always Apply

Not everyone is protected from age discrimination at the federal level. The law is designed to protect individuals who are 40 years old and over from unfair treatment based on age. However, New York State and the NYC Human Rights Law prohibit discrimination against anyone of any age, providing an added layer of protection for those that don’t fall within the parameters of the federal law.

To read more about federal age discrimination laws, visit the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself against Age Discrimination in the Workplace?

Sometimes it’s better to anticipate a problem in the workplace and do what you can to avoid it. Yes, legal protection is provided under age discrimination laws, but proving you were a victim of age discrimination can be frustrating and leave you in a difficult position. Employment experts recommend taking advantage of opportunities provided to you to improve skills relevant to your job to avoid falling behind. It’s also a good idea to request feedback from your supervisor on a regular basis. If it’s been awhile since you’ve received a review, ask if there’s anything you can do to improve your performance.

Being proactive can not only help you avoid a confrontation, it makes it easier to build your case should age discrimination occur. Should a judge or jury need to hear your case, most tend to look unfavorably on employers who gave rave reviews up until they terminated an older employee.

If you are treated differently or terminated because of your age, despite being a model employee, you have the option of taking legal action. Filing a complaint can be complex, so it’s important to speak to an attorney familiar with age discrimination laws in your state. For more information or to speak to someone about your case, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. (516-248-5550 OR 516-ABOGADO).


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