Because so many workers are complaining they are victims of age discrimination at work, there is now a phrase used to identify their struggle: the gray ceiling. If you have never heard the term before it may be because you have not reached the age of 40 yet. The gray ceiling is used to describe how older workers or job seekers face discrimination because of their age.
To combat age discrimination in the workplace, a federal law was passed back in 1967 to protect older workers from falling victim to it. However, before you can even prove you are being discriminated against because of your age, it is important to know how to recognize it.
Out with the old and in the new
Older workers may find themselves fired or offered a buyout to get young workers in who may be comfortable with a lower salary. Companies will sometimes justify these types of moves as wanting to create a different culture.
You are reminded of your age
It could be as simple as a bad joke or sly comment about losing your hearing, but if it comes from your boss it may be an indicator your age is on their mind. Another sign your age could be on their radar is if you are being asked about retirement. Regular talk of your age is something to keep an eye on as it could be a precursor to other plans they have for you.
Your work tasks change
If you suddenly find you have been reassigned to a new job or you are now handling much simpler duties, it can be a sign it is due to your age. The best way to combat this is to show continued job growth.
Bad reviews with no raises
A good indicator the company wants you out to door is when you begin to receive poor performance reviews. If you feel you are handling your job duties the same as before, but your boss is noticing a decline then other factors like your age may be in play. A bad review gives a company good reason to hold back a raise and eventually fire you.
Age discrimination is not always blatant and easy to pick out. You may only see signs that your age is causing discrimination. Documenting what you see at work and having that information ready could be crucial if you feel you are the victim of age discrimination.