Age discrimination can be hard to prove. Yet it is a reality for many employees who are starting to “show some age.”
The law only allows you to claim age discrimination against an employer once you turn 40 years of age. So while it could happen to you when you are younger, 40 is when you can do something about it.
Here are some of the times it could occur:
When applying for jobs
Employers need to word their job adverts with care. Many have traditionally used ageist language such as asking for “recent graduates” or “a young person keen to work their way up the ladder.” While they probably did not set out to be ageist or realize they were being ageist, they were, and the law does not permit that. If you are over 40, you probably assumed there was no point in applying.
Employers cannot ask questions that help identify your age either, such as your date of birth or when you graduated.
Surely they are going to notice your age at some point, though, right? Probably. Let’s say you get through the online application stage and are invited for an interview. As you walk into the office, you notice that everyone else is in their 20s. The employer can reject you, but they need to be able to justify that the decision had nothing to do with your age.
Promoting and firing are other dangerous times
Again, an employer has the right to promote someone else instead of you or let you go while they retain your colleague, but they cannot do it because of your age. They must base their choice on other factors.
Employers have a host of reasons to hire, promote or fire someone. If you believe the true reason was your age, get help to understand how you might prove age discrimination and claim compensation for any harm you suffered.