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By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Employment Law -- Employee on Thursday, December 19, 2019.
Recognizing Age Discrimination In The Workplace

Prejudice comes in all different forms. For most, discrimination based on race and gender are among the most common that come to mind. However, there are a number of ways people can experience the adverse and unjust effects of discrimination based on physical appearance or a number of other variables. Race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, or even pregnancy are common ways individuals can be discriminated against. Another possibility is also age – sometimes people have prejudices against those they believe are too old, as well as too young. Any of these prejudices can be experienced in any aspect of life, but they can be extremely difficult to deal with when they are regularly experienced in the workplace.


Discrimination in the workplace is a particularly damaging form of discrimination – your workplace is the center of your livelihood – your ability to support yourself and possibly your family as well. For most, leaving a job due to a negative experience is simply not an option without time to prepare and find another job, and for some it is not possible at all due to limiting or complex circumstances. In all cases, workplace discrimination can put you in the daily line of fire to be unfairly targeted and victimized for personal characteristics that you cannot – and should not – change.


Workplace discrimination based on age is particularly vicious, as it is often used as an unfair and inaccurate indicator of your competency as a professional. When you are ‘too young’, it can be suggested that your experience is inadequate, your understanding of your position or the industry is limited, and your value as a professional is insufficient. When you are ‘too old’, it can be suggested that your experience is outdated, your understanding of the position or the industry is narrow, and your value as a professional is insufficient. In reality, any of these sentiments could be true of any professional, and age is not a valid – or legal – measure of competency.


Workplace discrimination is illegal. This is the core takeaway. We know it’s immoral, we know it’s unethical – but it can be easy to focus on those facts and forget it is also illegal. And, if you are being discriminated against in the workplace based on age, you are not alone and everyone has the right to professional environment free of prejudice. Whether the discrimination comes in the form of unkind words, reduced opportunities, unfair blame, or any other method to make your work environment uncomfortable – you should not have to suffer.


If you believe that you or someone you love is being targeted in the workplace on the basis of age, we urge you to reach out to our offices to learn what your options may be. You, nor anyone else, should be forced to endure cruel and inhospitable conditions in the workplace based on factors that are outside of your control, do not reflect your competency as a professional, and are illegal to discriminate against. You have options, and we can help.