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5 signs of age discrimination on the job

You just had your 50th birthday party. Some of your co-workers congratulated you. It wasn't a big deal, but one of them brought a cupcake into work. You know it's a significant milestone.

However, as much as those workers embraced you, you're also a bit worried. Are you going to face discrimination because of your age? Could this prove to be a serious issue in the near future? Is that milestone more of a detriment to your career than anything else?

Your worry is understandable. Here are five potential signs of age discrimination to watch out for.

1. The company is hiring younger workers and forcing out older workers.

There's going to be some natural turnover as workers retire and the company hires college graduates, but be wary if the company appears to be intentionally replacing older workers.

2. Your boss keeps asking you about retirement.

It's probably said with a smile. Your boss may even say it on your birthday. Though the question of when you'll retire may come up innocently, it could be problematic if it keeps coming up and they're pressuring you.

3. The raises dry up.

Every year, for 20 years, you got a raise. If that stops when you hit a certain age, could it be the company's way of trying to nudge you into retirement? Are they taking your raise and giving it to younger workers to keep them around instead?

4. Your job changes, and not for the better.

You've always liked your job, but now they start asking you to do the things no one really wants to do. It may be as simple as cleaning up around the office. If you suddenly start drawing all of the "bad" jobs, is it because they want you to move on?

5. There is an unexplained drop in performance reviews.

You're doing the same job, hitting your quotas, and providing the same quality you always have. But, in the reviews, they're suddenly far more critical. Is it simple accidental discrimination carried out by a younger worker who doesn't get along with you? Or is the company trying to create "evidence" they can use to fire you?

Of course, in any of these cases, there could be valid reasons. Maybe there's no more money for raises after a down year. Maybe your performance really has declined, or maybe standards have increased. Maybe your boss doesn't want you to retire, but he or she keeps asking just to plan for the future.

However, if you think these things are being done maliciously, perhaps as a way to push you out of your career because of your age, you may want to look into the legal protections you have as a worker in Missouri.

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