You've got years of experience in your field and a strong work history. Still, you're having trouble advancing your career, especially now as you approach retirement age. You're passed over for promotions and raises, while younger employees with less experience climb the ladder. Maybe your manager or co-workers joke about your age, which makes you feel disrespected and embarrassed. It seems like your employer doesn't value your experience, but rather views it as a negative thing. This is age discrimination, when older professionals face serious workplace discrimination.
Sometimes, age discrimination means you can't find a new job if you move or lose a job due to any number of reasons. Despite having references and years of experience, you can't find an employer who will seriously consider you for a job in your field. In addition to being a frustrating situation for professionals, this kind of behavior by employers is also illegal. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considers age discrimination to be a serious issue. If it's impacting your career, you should consider it a serious issue, too.
All workers over the age of 40 are protected
Age discrimination specifically references discrimination against or harassment of professionals over the age of 40. It does not apply to younger, inexperienced workers. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) focuses on discrimination against older professionals. This kind of discrimination is quite common, even in situations where the manager or supervisor discriminating against you is also over the age of 40. It can look like concern about when you might retire or cultural attitudes about older workers being slower or harder to teach. It can look like jokes, as well.
If you're often made the subject of jokes about age, gray hair, wrinkles or other aspects of aging, that is a form of harassment. Your age is not something you have control over, and it is inappropriate for your workers to mock or belittle you for it. If you noticed a pattern of these comments just before being passed over for a promotion, demoted or terminated from your position, it's very likely that age discrimination played a factor in what happened. You shouldn't just accept age discrimination. You should fight back.
An attorney helps you push back against illegal age discrimination
If you believe you've been the victim of illegal age discrimination at work or while searching for a job, you should speak with an experienced Florida workplace law attorney as soon as possible. It can be difficult to prove discrimination, which is why speaking with an attorney about your experiences can help you make better decisions. Your lawyer can look over the details of your situation and help you figure out what options are available to you.