Some workers look forward to the day when they can retire and may even plan to quit working as early as possible. Most others either have no choice but to continue earning a living or simply enjoy their jobs and have no plans to retire. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, especially when some industries want to project a fresh and young image.
Despite California and federal laws established to protect older workers from discrimination, you may still face words and actions from your employer or co-workers that make you feel like you are unappreciated at best and on your way out at worst. If you believe you are the victim of age discrimination, it is wise to remain alert to the signs and keep careful records of any discriminatory behavior on the job.
Marginalization and what you can do about it
Age discrimination does not necessarily involve an employer saying, “You are too old. You’re fired.” More often, discrimination can be quite subtle and sinister. In fact, marginalization is one of the most common ways employers may discriminate against workers over the age of 40. The goal of marginalization is to make older employees feel unimportant or irrelevant until it affects their job performances or until they simply quit. You may be the victim of such marginalization if you experience any of the following:
- Your employer assigns you to tasks that are beneath your abilities and gives more advanced assignments to younger, less experienced employees.
- You learn that your team or department has held important meetings to which you were not invited, leaving you unprepared and uninformed about critical projects.
- Your coworkers or employer make comments about how tired you seem, or they joke that you are old-fashioned, out of touch or not up with the times.
- It seems as if your seniority in the company is no longer an asset, especially if you are passed over for promotions or raises in favor of younger workers.
- You are feeling more isolated from your colleagues.
Because you are not given the opportunity to remain a viable and contributing member of the staff, your performance evaluations may begin to slip, giving your employer justification for termination or laying you off. Make no mistake: these methods of pushing you out are against the law, and you have a right to protect yourself from such underhanded discrimination.
It is important to remain confident and continue improving your skills for the job, all the while keeping a record of the wrongs you experience. You may learn of additional steps you can take to fight for your rights by speaking with an attorney who has experience dealing with California’s workplace discrimination laws.