Americans are staying in the workforce well in to their senior years. Many enjoy their work and see no reason to retire. For others, it’s a matter of financial necessity to continue working.
However, some people start to experience age discrimination even as young as their 40s. That’s why Kentucky law includes employees over 40 in their list of protected classes.
Most employers are smart enough not to come right out and tell someone that they think they’re too old for a job or promotion for which they’re applying — or that they’re being terminated because of their age. However, they can show their bias in many other ways. Often, their words and actions give them away.
Signs that your employers may be ageist
If you’re experiencing any of the following, you may be a victim of age discrimination that could impact your chances of advancement or even of keeping your job.
- Younger employees seem to get most of the promotions, the best projects and more training opportunities. This is even though they don’t comprise the majority of the workforce in the company or aren’t performing as well as you are.
- The managers seem to socialize outside the office only with the younger employees without inviting you or other older workers to join. We all know that these social interactions can lead to career advancement.
- The managers use a lot of coded terms when talking about younger workers. “Energetic” can be commonly used, as well as mentions of bringing in “new blood” or “fresh faces” to the company.
- Insulting comments regarding your age – even as a “joke” — are allowed to stand. Many people who wouldn’t tolerate racial, religious or homophobic slurs in the workplace don’t have the same sense of outrage when they hear someone mocked for their age.
It’s easy for people to buy in to these stereotypes – even about themselves. You can help dispel them by showing that you are comfortable using the latest technology and social media platforms and that you have creative ideas that appeal to people younger than yourself.
If you believe that you lost a job or faced other negative consequences in the workplace because of your age, or if someone has told you that’s why, it may be wise to learn about your legal options.