1. Job elimination. One of the most common excuses used to get rid of older employees is “job elimination.”
2. Layoff. The company is supposed to attach to a layoff notice a list of other employees included and excluded from the layoff, along with their ages.
3. Suddenly stupid. If, after years of great performance reviews, you’re getting reprimanded for things everyone does, or being nitpicked for things the company didn’t care about before, it’s possible that the company is gearing up for what I call the “suddenly stupid defense.”
4. Threatening your pension. I’ve seen cases where the company threatened that if the employee didn’t retire right away, it would look for ways to go after that worker’s pension.
5. Early retirement. One way employers get rid of older employees is offering a package that includes incentives to take early retirement.
6. Mandatory retirement age. If your employer still has a mandatory retirement age, it’s probably breaking the law.
7. Cutting job duties. One way to force older employees out is to cut job duties, limiting your authority and humiliating you with low-level tasks.
8. Isolation. Cutting you out of meetings, excluding you from lunches, and sticking you in a cubicle far from the action is another way employers try to get older employees to quit.
9. Denying promotions or opportunities for advancement. It’s illegal for an employer to deny you a promotion just because they think you’ll retire soon.
10. Cutting hours. Another way to put senior employees under duress is to cut hours to the bone.
11. Harassment. Cutting hours and job duties, isolating you and assigning menial tasks are all forms of harassment.
Follow the company’s policy for reporting harassment. I suggest you do that in writing. Title this document, “Formal Complaint of Age-Based Harassment and Discrimination.” Describe how you’re being singled out for treatment different than younger coworkers. Note any ageist comments that have been made to you; any other older employees being targeted; and whether there are any witnesses or evidence. Give the company a chance to investigate. If they don’t remedy the situation or if the harassment continues, it might be time to contact an employment lawyer.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at