You were passed up again for another promotion. You came to this as a second career, but you work hard and bring in strong numbers. It is infuriating that people 15 years younger than you keep picking up those promotions, but you can’t, regardless of how hard you work. Discriminating based upon age is a form of workplace discrimination. We are all familiar with the classic discriminated groups like religion, sex and ethnicity; however, just because age discrimination may seem outlandish does not mean it is any less hurtful.

Both federal and Missouri law forbid age discrimination against employees over 40 years old, but not if you’re over 70. Well sure, you may think, but it isn’t like they single me out for being older. You never felt like an outsider at the company before.

True, discrimination is a poignant term that carries images of black and white photos, the March on Washington and Equal pay, but there is a subtle, more insidious version of discrimination. So subtle that many supervisors may not even realize they are discriminating against their employees. It can take the form of reduced hours, job assignments, training and promotions. Most discrimination isn’t blatant; it is indirect. Just because you weren’t personally attacked doesn’t mean your rights aren’t being infringed upon.

If you are being passed up for promotion, you’re over 40 and it looks suspicious, you may be the victim of workplace discrimination. Bear in mind that this can be difficult to prove. It isn’t enough that a general policy may have a disparate impact on older workers. It must be established that the discrimination was deliberate.

Discrimination does not have to be obvious, in fact it usually isn’t. The most dangerous form of discrimination is subtle and culture-oriented such that no one recognizes it. Don’t forego your rights. You work hard and you deserve an equal shot at promotions and raises. Age discrimination claims are complicated which is why it is helpful to consult an attorney to discuss your claims and rights.