Age discrimination is rampant in today's workplace environment, with older employees finding it harder to hold on to their jobs or get new employment. Employers often assume that older employees are close to retirement and don't really need a job as much as their younger counterparts, or that they are likely to be low-energy or likely to miss more work due to medical issues.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for companies to get rid of older employees whose pay rates are higher and hire younger employees who would do the same job for less pay.

Forms of age discrimination

The most common form of discrimination is favoritism, where younger employees are preferred for certain lucrative projects or given the best leads, equipment or training. This could also manifest in the form of managers only socializing with younger employees, or older individuals being excluded from key meetings.

Age discrimination can also manifest when older individuals are left out of promotions for jobs they are well qualified for, or when layoffs affect older employees more than younger ones. If you face jokes or derogatory statements about your age, which could include being called belittling terms such as "grandma" or "old man," this could be evidence of age discrimination.

Employers often try to make working conditions difficult for older employees so as to push them to resign, so be on the lookout for any disparity between how older employees are treated as compared to younger ones. If you are disciplined for something that younger employees do without punishment, note it down, as it could help with your age discrimination claim.

What to do if you are a victim of age discrimination

The first step toward building a strong age discrimination case is to write down locations, dates and witnesses to any of the discriminatory acts discussed above, whether they are directed toward you or to fellow workers. You should also collect documents showing any layoffs, demotions, failed promotions or exclusion from certain company projects. 

If you're presented with a severance agreement to sign after you've been laid off, do not sign it, as this would effectively release your employer from any discrimination claim you have against them.

Next, present all the evidence documenting any nasty comments, unfavorable job assignments, exclusions or other discriminatory acts you've had to go through due to your age to a competent employment lawyer who can then determine if you have enough to warrant an age discrimination claim. More info can be gained by talking an employment law attorney.