As you’ve gotten older, there have been times when you thought that you were being treated differently at work because of it. You know that you’re not young or as spry as you once were, but you have a solid education in your field and can stand tall among the best in your arena.
Recently, things have been getting out of hand. You went to talk to a supervisor about a project, and he laughingly told you to, “Hold on a minute, old man.” You don’t think he or others, who are younger than you, are taking you seriously, and you’ve started to notice changes in the level of respect you receive.
Age discrimination is a distinct possibility. Age discrimination is when an employer or other covered entity discriminates against you during hiring, firing, job assignment, promotion, training or other aspects of your job. When you’re over the age of 40, you’re protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which makes it unlawful to harass you due to your age.
What constitutes harassment based on age?
Some examples of harassment based on age include:
- Making frequent or severely offensive remarks about a person’s age
- Creating an offensive work environment
- Using age as a consideration for an employment decision, like hiring or firing
Who can you hold accountable for age discrimination?
Harassers can include anyone such as:
- A direct supervisor
- A co-worker
- Clients or customers
- A supervisor in a different area of the business
What can you do if you believe that you’ve been harassed due to your age?
The first thing to do is to note down the date and time when the alleged harassment happened. Take down notes about who you believe harassed you and others who may have witnessed it. Having this information, along with any documentation such as emails, videos or further records, will help you create a case against the company or individual.
You should report any instances of discrimination to your human resources department if you can, so that there is a record. If you feel you cannot do so, you can also reach out to your attorney to seek further advice on the next steps to take, so that you’re handling the situation in a way that will make your case easier if you do need to go to court.
It is not fair to be harassed, and you shouldn’t have to deal with it. Make sure you track unfair treatment and speak out.