When most people think of age discrimination, they might think of a company refusing an elderly person because they assume they’re “slow” and “incompetent.” However, countless employees in their 50s and 60s have reported being discriminated against by companies that they’ve worked at for years. As the employees get older, they find that management stops keeping them informed. They may be pushed out of meetings and given tasks that are below their skill level. Because the companies don’t want to give their employees severance pay, they opt instead to slowly push them out of the company until they leave of their own volition.
While age discrimination is illegal in the United States, most companies use the subtle act of marginalization to eliminate their older employees without outright mentioning their age. They might deliberately hide information from them or give them work that’s unsuited to their skill level. As a result, their work performance drops, which the company uses as an excuse to marginalize the employee even further.
Marginalization can have a negative effect on the employee’s health, resulting in feelings of depression, anxiety, frustration, and dissatisfaction with their workplace. Employees who suspect that they’re being marginalized should take it up with upper management and the HR team, providing documentation if possible. Employees should also remind themselves that their work performance isn’t at fault–instead, the age discrimination is to blame, and they would likely do well if they moved to another company.
If speaking to upper management doesn’t change the situation, an employee who suspects that they’re the victim of discrimination might wish to contact an attorney. An attorney may be able to help the employee gather evidence, produce a strong case, and bring a lawsuit against the company. With the help of an attorney, the employee might be able to negotiate a fair settlement.