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How Can You Recognize Workplace Age Discrimination?

June 21st, 2022
Bucks County Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Will Make Sure Your Rights Are Protected if You Have Experienced Age Discrimination.

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits workplace discrimination based on an employee’s age. Even though this law exists and every employer should know about it, age discrimination still happens.

The ADEA specifically prohibits discrimination against any worker 40 years old or older from adverse workplace actions solely because of the worker’s age. If a company wrongfully terminates an employee who is 60 years old based on their age, the company might be subject to an age discrimination claim. Age discrimination can also be something other than wrongful termination. Here are key signs to watch out for if you think you may be experiencing age discrimination at work.


Some forms of harassment in the workplace are overlooked. Many people think they have to be fired to experience workplace age discrimination, but harassment often rises to the level of age discrimination at work.

Consider this scenario. If your supervisor makes fun of you for being slow, calls you “old,” harasses you, or calls you names related to your age, it is likely that they are committing age discrimination. Your employer may be trying to get you to quit so they do not have to fire you and risk an age discrimination claim. Note that is the most common form of workplace age discrimination.

Average Worker Age

Some industries, such as tech, software, design, marketing, usually have a young workforce. Part of the reason for this is because many of the younger workers already know some of the technology used at work, so the employer has less training to do. However, if you notice a pattern of only hiring workers in a certain age bracket, you could be working at a place committing age discrimination.

Age-Related Comments

Like harassment above, age-related comments come in many forms. It can be a demeaning tone from your supervisor, or it could be a more public display of humiliation. If you are consistently reprimanded in front of your colleagues, you could be experiencing age discrimination. If you notice your colleagues making similar mistakes but do not see them being disciplined, your supervisor could be singling you out because of your age.

Denied Promotions and Raises

Companies have legitimate reasons to give promotions and raises to certain employees. When an employee has been with a company for a long time and have shown growth and ability to handle more responsibilities, they often receive a promotion. That often goes along with a higher salary.

If you have been turned down for a promotion, especially if it has happened more than once, because of your age, you are experiencing discrimination. Note who gets the promotion over you. Is it always a younger person? That could be a sign that your employer is discriminating against you based on your age.


When a supervisor leaves you out of the loop, removes you from team discussions and collaboration, or takes any action where you are isolated, they could be committing age discrimination. Isolating employees serves to make them feel less desirable and ineffective.

Many employers seek to isolate employees to make their work experience hostile. If you think your employer is doing this, you may have a valid age discrimination claim against them.

Pressured to Quit or Retire

Some companies are blunter than others and will suggest that you retire or quit. Employers often structure this with a retirement or severance package, making it potentially financially attractive for you to leave.

Other companies will tell you that you have to retire by a certain age. In some circumstances, this is also illegal. Companies cannot set a retirement age outside of some government positions.


Layoffs unfortunately happen at companies and can affect employees in every age bracket. Most companies only layoff employees during difficult economic times, but if you see your company lay off employees all in a certain age bracket, that could be age discrimination. If you have seen your company conduct more than one layoff of older workers, your company could be engaging in workplace age discrimination.

Performance Improvement Plans

Performance improvement plans are frequently used to help support employees and get them back on track. These plans are given to employees who are not working at optimal levels or are failing to meet key objectives for their position.

You should not notice that only older workers are getting performance improvement plans. If you have been placed on a performance improvement plan but your reviews have been great and your work performance has been anything but lackluster, your employer may be setting the stage to terminate you.

Putting an employee on a performance improvement plan is not always a sign that the employee is going to be fired. The goal of a performance improvement plan is to help the employee improve their performance, but when you are an older employee with no previous history of lackluster performance, this could be a sign of discrimination.

Eliminating Your Position

Some employers tell workers that their position has been eliminated. This can be a legitimate reason for termination, as companies do evolve over time and positions that were needed yesterday may no longer be necessary today. However, if you are told that your position is being eliminated but you learn that your company has hired someone much younger to do the same job, they could be discriminating against you based on your age.

While this can be difficult to prove since you no longer work for the company, employers will often post a public announcement about new hires. You can view your company’s website or social media to see what job title the new hire was given. If it is similar to your previous title, you may have evidence of discrimination.

Bucks County Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Will Make Sure Your Rights Are Protected if You Have Experienced Age Discrimination

Age discrimination at work is a serious problem. If you suspect that your employer has taken an adverse employment action against you because of your age, you have legal rights worth protecting. Contact one of our Bucks County employment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. to learn your rights and how we will protect them. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.

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