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Workplace discrimination based on age

Older workers in Missouri and around the country may be targeted by companies seeking to cut their budgets, according to one attorney experienced in employment law, and this is being reflected in an increasing amount of litigation. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported 24,000 age discrimination claims for 2012. Age by itself is not a legal justification for businesses looking to rid themselves of senior employees in favor of less expensive hires.

There are things employees can watch for to spot workplace discrimination related to age. Businesses will attempt to avoid the potential lawsuits by making the dismissal appear to be for performance reasons, and workers targeted for removal may face more intense scrutiny by management than their peers. This could include a stricter application of rules for the worker, such as tardy violations or more frequent performance reviews. Employer actions with a disparate impact may constitute workplace harassment.

For those injured by this discrimination, it is possible to gain compensation for damages. An EEOC senior attorney recommends that workers begin to document employer behavior that is suspicious. Dated notes about any new or old policies that are applied differently may help support claims following an unfair dismissal.

Employers who dismiss their workers based on age may be found guilty of abusing employee rights. Their actions can cause financial hardship for employees, including loss of income and costly changes to retirement plans. Age discrimination may also result in loss of social networks and the increased risk of developing mental health disorders that goes along with this. Workers who have been dismissed, as well as those who are subjected to workplace harassment that could be intended to lead to dismissal, may be able to find assistance from an attorney with experience in employment law.

Source: St. Joe Channel, "Age Discrimination in Workplace has Warning Signs", Alan Van Zandt, December 03, 2013

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