When you think of age discrimination in the workplace, do you automatically think of a worker who is about to retire? There is this popular idea that companies may try to fire workers who are in their late 50s or 60s because they want to hire a bunch of new recruits in their 20s. Someone who has to work after the traditional retirement age may also complain that they cannot find a job at all.
Certainly, these things do happen and that kind of discrimination is illegal. However, don’t assume that age discrimination won’t impact your career until you’re about to retire because ageism in the workplace can start much earlier.
Protection for those who are 40 years of age and over
The law actually gives legal protection to workers who are 40-years-old and over, meaning that discrimination starts happening right around that point. If you got an advanced degree and didn’t graduate from college until your late 20s or early 30s, you could start seeing discrimination even though you have only been in the workforce for roughly a decade.
Many people assume that their careers are just taking off at that point, but you may feel like you’re running out of options as if you’ve accidentally aged out of the career you worked so hard to achieve. This can be extremely frustrating when you feel like you’re still a young worker with a lot to offer and your employer starts to treat you as if you’re already expendable because of your age.
What can you do if this happens?
The law does protect you from discrimination, but this doesn’t mean it won’t happen — and the signs can be slow and subtle.
You just need to know what you can do to protect your rights against age discrimination. The first step in any age discrimination case should probably be a consultation with an attorney so that you can better understand your legal options and how to prepare.