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How employers hide age discrimination

Does your employer discriminate against older employees?

Frankly, that kind of discrimination can happen right in front of a lot of employees without being recognized, simply because employers have gotten good at cloaking their age discrimination in a number of ways. There are some common tactic employers use to discriminate against older workers. Recognizing them can help you protect your rights.

1. Layoffs

If the company didn't seem to be in any financial distress, a layoff seems suspicious from the start. It's even more suspicious when everyone cleaning out their desk seems to be over 40 years of age.

2. Restructuring

"Restructuring the company" is often a way to hide age discrimination. Your job is conveniently eliminated, but a new (younger) employee with a new job title seems to be doing your old job.

3. Bad performance reviews

After 20 or more years on the job with stellar reviews, are you suddenly being lambasted for not performing well enough? When you're handed a performance improvement plan (PIP), you can bet your boss is trying to build a paper trail that shows you were fired for cause.

4. Lousy schedules

Are you suddenly being asked to work doubles or weekends? Are you being given split shifts that allow you little time for a personal life? Is it putting you under a lot of strain? You have good reason to suspect your employer is doing it on purpose, especially if he or she mentions that the younger employees seem to manage the hours just fine.

5. Being cut out

Are you being cut out of meetings? Has a boss told to pass off your more important duties in exchange for menial ones? Do you find yourself increasingly out of the loop and isolated? If so, it's probably deliberate. It's sad to say, but your co-workers may even be encouraged (overtly or subtly) to steer clear of you. You probably have a good reason to suspect age discrimination is at work.

A lot of times, tactics like this get started after an older employee rejects an offer of early retirement. The company executives figure that if they can't buy you out, they'll force you out. If you believe that's happening to you, it's time to take stock of your rights as an employee and your options.

Source: linkedin.com, "Suspicious Tactics Companies Use to Get Rid of Older Employees," Michelle A. Riklan, accessed April 27, 2018

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