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How to recognize age discrimination at work

Age discrimination can be a mind-boggling issue. Older workers tend to be more stable, experienced and hardworking, so why would a business not want to hire them? Yet over 20 percent of discrimination reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involve age, shares AARP.

With life expectancy increasing and retirement far ahead for most people, it is wise for senior employees to be able to recognize when they face age discrimination in the workplace. If any of these actions happen to you, speak to an attorney to determine if you have a lawsuit.

Interview questions

Discrimination can happen before a company even hires you. During the interview, the interviewer may ask you personal questions that can reveal your age. For example,

  • "In what year were you born?"
  • "When did you graduate from high school or college?"
  • "How long have you been in the workforce?"

You do not have to answer these questions. Be careful with the information you willingly provide, as well, as you may inadvertently tell how old you are.

Hiring and promotions

The most common form of age discrimination is not obtaining a job because the employer hired someone younger and with fewer qualifications. Another common scenario is not receiving a promotion for the same reason although you are eligible, or even worse, going through a demotion.


While teasing is normal in many places of employment, harassment takes things to another level. You may hear degrading comments about your age and abilities, experience physical assault or suffer in a hostile work environment. Document these instances and report them. If no disciplinary action or changes happen, speak to an attorney about your rights and options.

Mandatory retirement

Except in a few professions, you get to choose when you retire, not your employer. In fact, your employer may try to use harassment and lack of promotions and raises to get you to quit on your own. Another tactic is laying you off instead of other workers who have spent less time at the company and do not have as many credentials or as much experience as you do.

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