How Do I Deal with Age Discrimination at Work?
In California and other states in the United States, as long as you can do your work properly, your age should not be a matter of concern in the workplace. However, age discrimination is a very real issue that many people have to cope with on a day-to-day basis. As it can cause stress and affect workplace productivity, it is essential to take effective steps to put an end to it.
Here’s how you can deal with age discrimination at work:
Understand what constitutes age-related discrimination
The unfair treatment you experience from your colleagues, supervisors, and employer on account of your age may be unintentional, due to a lack of knowledge of the employment law, or intentional. It can be in the form of insensitive and humiliating comments—such as how quick you are despite your age, how you are too old to able to be able to use a certain tool, or how you ought to have retired by now—or it may manifest by making you feel isolated and unwelcome among your colleagues and excluding you from industry conferences and team activities.
You may be passed over for a position you are qualified for, overlooked for promotion, demoted, or even fired from your job due to your age. Be aware that all of these types of actions constitute age discrimination.
Be aware of your legal rights as an employee
The employment law in California specifically prohibits age discrimination at work. According to the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which applies to employers with five or more employees, employers cannot act against any employee simply because the employee is 40 or more years old. If you are 40 or above, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act offers you legal protection from being discriminated against for matters related to getting hired, being promoted, receiving a salary hike, and so on.
Then there is also the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 that makes it illegal for employers to fire employers because of their age, among other things. There are also other federal laws, common laws, and public policies against age-related workplace discrimination.
Inform your employer about your workplace problems
Even with all the legal provisions in place, some employers may not be aware that they are legally obliged to provide their employees with a safe and discrimination-free workplace. Or, they may have been oblivious to your problems. By bringing these to their attention and letting them know that you are aware of your legal rights, you may be able to compel them to take disciplinary action against the offenders.
If your company has an employee handbook, it will also be a good idea to peruse that and find out about its anti-discriminatory policies. You can refer to these to further bolster your position and convince your employer to step up and address the age discrimination problem. If it is a company-wide issue, they may need to arrange for training programs and workshops for managers, supervisors, and employees to turn things around and foster a workplace culture of inclusion, understanding, and appreciation.
Hire a competent age discrimination lawyer
You can search online for “age discrimination lawyer Los Angeles” and sift through the results to find someone who is knowledgeable, competent, experienced, empathetic, and affordable. Visit the lawyer’s website and check if they specialize in age discrimination law, how many age discrimination cases they have handled, and what their success record has been. Read testimonials by previous and current clients, and look up reviews on other online sites. Are they mostly positive? Look for another lawyer if the reviews are mostly negative.
It will also help to find out if the age discrimination lawyer offers a free initial consultation and if they have a fixed price rate or charge by the hour. During the initial consultation, the lawyer will review your case and let you know if your complaint is legally justifiable and the outcome you can expect by taking legal action. It will also allow you to assess if the lawyer will be a good fit for you. As legal matters can drag on, it is important to find someone that you can trust, feel comfortable around, and get along with.