You’ve been a dedicated employee for years, gained respect amongst your co-workers, and, from time to time, earned recognition as an “Employee of the Month.” In all honesty, you have been a good employee. In recent months, however, you have noticed that your team employer has been treating you differently from the other team members. Could they be discriminating against you in any way?
It’s important to understand that both state and federal laws require employers to create safe and discrimination-free workplaces for their workers. This means that your employer, co-workers or clients cannot discriminate against you based on protected characteristics like your age or religion among others. If this happens, you may hold your employer liable through a workplace discrimination claim. But how do you prove ageism at work?
Understanding the elements of ageism in the workplace
To successfully sue your employer for age discrimination in California, you need to satisfy certain elements. Here are some of them:
- There was an employer-employee relationship between you and the defendant
- You were over 40 when the alleged incident happened
- An unfavorable employment decision (dismissal, demotion or transfer) was made based on your age.
Of course, every age discrimination case is unique. If you believe you are a victim of age discrimination at work, you need to act.
Common signs of ageism at work
Unlike other forms of discrimination, ageism can be quite subtle. Here are some of the signs you need to pay attention to if you believe you are a victim of ageism at work:
Questionable layoffs, transfers to other roles or demotions – Whereas your employer has the right to realign the workforce in response to the business’s changing needs, such reorganization cannot be based on age. If an employer refers to your date of birth when making employment decisions like transfers, layoffs or demotions, then this could amount to ageism.
Verbal harassment – If your employer or supervisor routinely comments about your age, you need to find out what’s going on.
The law protects employees from all forms of workplace discrimination. Understanding applicable state and federal laws can help you assert your rights if you believe you are being discriminated against at work because of your age.