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What is ageism in the workplace?

When you think about workplace discrimination in Los Angeles, you might think of unlawful behaviors involving gender, pregnancy, religion or race. You might not realize there is another type of employment discrimination you need to know about – ageism. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act offers employees protection against employers who use unlawful employment practices with workers over the age of 40 years old. 

Unlike other kinds of workplace harassment and discrimination issues, ageism is exceedingly difficult to prove. Here are some signs of ageism you should watch out for. 

Preferential treatment 

Sadly, it is still common practice for some employers to give preferential treatment to younger workers. They may provide younger employees with more promotion, pay incentives, benefits and other perks instead of following standard employment practices and promoting workers who may be older, more experienced and have better credentials than their younger counterparts. 

Termination 

Some employers replace their older workers with younger employees using illegal practices. If you lose your job, your employer fires you or you notice your employer is only hiring younger employers, he or she may be committing ageism. A reason some employers get rid of older workers include trying to cut their employment and employee wages. 

Poor work evaluations 

After being on their jobs awhile, most older workers know the ropes and the most effective ways to perform their duties and are likely to receive positive performance reviews. Some workers may notice that their performance evaluations are not as positive, even though nothing has changed in the way they work since their last positive work evaluations. Ageism is a possible factor if workers under the age of 40 suddenly begin receiving more positive reviews. 

Ageism that occurs in the workplace is often subtle. If you are approaching the age of 40 or reached that milestone some time ago, pay close attention to any differences in the way your employer treats younger and older workers. If you suspect ageism or some other form of discrimination is contaminating your work environment, keep evidence and proper documentation and research legal options.

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