You've been dedicated to your career path for years, even decades. You have the education and the practical experience to make you an expert in your field. You are years from being ready or willing to retire, but you also feel like you've hit a brick wall in your career. Could you be experiencing age discrimination? You may hesitate to assume discrimination, but age discrimination is very common in a number of industries. Even if your boss or manager is as old or older than you are, he or she could still have unhealthy ideas about the contributions of experienced and older employees.
If you aren't currently working due to a layoff or similar issue, your age could prevent you from securing a good position. Some employers may seem enthusiastic about your work history and experience but then balk about hiring you after your interview. The reasoning may vary, but it's common for age to impact a hiring decision. Your would-be manager might worry about when you'll retire. There could also be concerns about whether you can keep up with current advancements in your field. In some cases, employers may incorrectly assume that older workers make more mistakes.
Age discrimination is illegal under federal law
Age discrimination is such a serious issue that the federal government has specific rules in place forbidding the practice. The law, which is called The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), specifically bans the practice of discriminating against potential employees or existing employees because they are over the age of 40. Workers under the age of 40, who may experience discrimination based on their youthfulness, are not covered by this act. Your employer or potential employer cannot consider your age as a factor when making hiring, firing, advancement or wage decisions about you.
The ADEA also bans workplace harassment based on your age. If your supervisor or co-workers routinely speak poorly of you or make jokes at your expense because of your age, you may be experiencing age discrimination and harassment. A few comments about your hair color could quickly snowball into a hostile work environment if all your co-workers start making jokes about you. If these jokes reference your work ability, it's possible for management or new employees to take these ideas to heart and view you poorly, even if it was all a joke at first.
A lawyer can help you push back against discrimination
If you are experiencing workplace harassment or discrimination because of your age, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey employment law attorney. Your lawyer can review the details of your situation and help you determine the best way to move forward.