If you’re over 40 years of age, you know that you deserve the same opportunities as younger workers. You shouldn’t be fired because of your age, and you shouldn’t be denied a job solely because of your age.
The good news is that your employer — or prospective employer, if you applied for a job — also knows this. The bad news is that the knowledge may not stop them from discriminating. It may just cause them to try to hide it.
Loaded phrases that may be linked to discrimination
One way to see this type of discrimination is to look for loaded phrases that carry extra weight. For instance, a company may say that they want to hire a digital native or someone who grew up during the digital age. This can be problematic because it implies that older workers shouldn’t apply, even if they’ve worked hard to learn all of the skills needed for the job.
Similarly, companies often talk about cultural fit. But imagine that your employer fires all of the workers who are over 40 and only keeps the younger workers, citing a need for a cultural fit. In this case, it’s pretty clear that the “culture” they’re trying to create is one of youth, and they’re discriminating against talented older workers along the way.
These examples help to show how widespread discrimination really is. Once you spot it, don’t assume you just have to deal with it and find a new job. You have rights, discrimination on an age basis is illegal, and you need to know what legal steps to take.