Are you a victim of subtle age discrimination in your workplace? Although pervasive, employees file fewer age claims among forms of workplace discrimination. Less than a quarter of discrimination lawsuits involve age discrimination, following retaliation, race, disability, and sex as the leading complaints.
The current recession, however, has exposed age prejudice in the workplace. Workplace discrimination lawyers are reporting a sharp spike in age discrimination complaints.
Age discrimination is oftentimes performed under the guise of voluntary separation, employee downsizing, or dismissal for poor performance. Following are some common ways employers disguise age discrimination.
New Educational Qualifications
You have been the top seller of educational video games in your company for a decade. Your company has decided to open a recreational video game series to compete with Nintendo. A new policy is put in place requiring all game sales executives to hold a masters in sales and marketing.
Lacking this qualification, you are dismissed from your job. The real intent of the company was to hire younger, hipper sales agents to sell action video games. In this case, your employer will have to prove that younger sales agents is an occupational requirement. Specific age requirements can be easy to uphold for actors in a video, but more difficult for a sales job.
No Job Advancement
Failing to promote older employees can be employed as a subtle strategy for pushing them out of a company. After years in the same position with no job advancement, and thus professional growth, you will inevitably become frustrated and unfulfilled. If a job offer is made from another organization or a voluntary payout package is offered, you will be more interested in these offers.
Eventually, employers may expose their hand. Such was the case when NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) laid off employees over 40. Other employees who had been denied promotions joined the age discrimination lawsuit, which was recently settled for $10 million.
In 2013, a well-known LA Times sports columnist took time off due to a health disability. The newspaper seized the opportunity to replace him with a younger sports writer. Companies sometimes take advantage of employee absences due to health to place younger employees in the position. The demoted sports columnist sued and was awarded a $15.4 million settlement.
If you suspect you're a victim of age discrimination, early consultation with workplace discrimination lawyer services can help you develop the evidence required to support your case. Wrongful dismissal attorneys have experience exposing hidden age discrimination.