Age discrimination is one of the most common types of discrimination in the workplace, especially in California.
Both federal law (the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (the “ADEA”)) and California law (the Fair Employment and Housing Act (the “FEHA”)) prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee because of his or her age. Specifically, employees who are 40 years of age or older are protected from age discrimination under both the ADEA and the FEHA.
Below are some potential signs of age discrimination in the workplace:
- The age make-up of an employee’s department or company is gradually getting younger. The older employees “resign” or are terminated, and the new hires tend to be younger.
- An employee has successfully worked at a company for years. However, the employee’s supervisor suddenly starts nit-picking and criticizing the employee’s work.
- A supervisor tells an employee that the employee won’t receive a promotion because the employee does not fit the profile of a young, aggressive manager.
- A supervisor says that an employee’s sales techniques are too “old school.”
- An employee is criticized or reprimanded for making mistakes or errors, but younger employees (who make the same mistakes or errors) are not criticized at all.
- A supervisor tells an employee that the employee is “slow” or “lacks energy” or is not “technologically savvy.”
- Even though an employee continues to have the same job title, the employee feels like his employer has “demoted” him: i.e., the employer is no longer assigning challenging work or projects to the employee; the employee is excluded from meetings (that the employee was allowed to attend in the past); and the employee is left out of important decisions.
- An employee is told that his position (e.g., Marketing Manager) is being eliminated and that the employee therefore no longer has a job. After the employee leaves the company, however, he learns that the company recently hired a younger employee to fill the new position of Marketing Operations Manager, which is very similar to the employee’s previous Marketing Manager position.