As much as everyone wants workplaces to exist without any discrimination, instances of bias take place; court cases in California reveal that age discrimination does happen. Employers may attempt to hide their discriminatory practices, but the subtle nature of the discrimination doesn’t always work.
Older workers, whether they serve in supervisory or subordinate roles, might find themselves dealing with marginalization. Marginalizing someone in the workplace involves putting down or minimizing their talents, abilities and performance. A not-so-subtle strategy consists of commenting on how someone has become “slow” or appears “tired.” While not coming right out and saying someone is “too old” for the job, the derogatory commentary hints at the sentiment.
Employers could start to become discriminatory toward the “slow and tired” employee by reducing their job capacity, denying promotions or preferred assignments or even dismissing the individual. If someone was sleeping on the job or falling behind necessary productivity levels, an adverse action could make sense. However, marginalizing someone who hasn’t committed any mistakes on the job or displays poor performance might raise suspicions.
An company’s corporate culture could be predisposed to shedding employees past a specific age. While this might be a hypothetical company’s policy, the practice would not be a legal one. The law prohibits discrimination, including age discrimination.
Workers might suffer more than the financial effects of office ageism. Self-esteem may suffer, and the individual could develop an anxiety or depressive disorder. Even physical health might decline upon struggling with discriminatory practices.
An older person who experiences workplace discrimination may find it worthwhile to discuss the situation with an attorney. An attorney may help the worker seek compensation for lost wages and punitive damages for the discriminatory practices.
The attorney might even seek reimbursements for mental and physical health care costs resulting from discriminatory practices. Such compensation may prove helpful when a condition persists.