When you begin to age, you’ll no longer be the newest employee at your workplace. That doesn’t mean you’re not valuable or that anyone has a right to treat you negatively. Your age is a benefit. You’ve been at the business a long time, and you know your way around.

When people age, it is sometimes looked down on because they are not as spry as they once were. Sadly, this can lead to age discrimination in the workplace, which is against the law.

What is age discrimination?

Age discrimination is when an employee is treated less favorably than others at the business because of age alone. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, also called the ADEA, protects those who are at least 40 years old from discrimination in the workplace. Some states also have laws that protect younger workers from discrimination, though federally, it is 40 or older.

What does the ADEA prohibit?

The ADEA prohibits employers and employees from harassing a person due to age. They may not make negative or derogatory remarks about the person’s age, for instance. A single one-off comment may not constitute harassment. Harassment is generally defined as an action that takes place often enough to create an offensive or hostile work environment that makes the victim uncomfortable. An act may also be harassment if it results in a person being demoted or fired due to those actions.

What should you do if you’re discriminated against?

Keep any evidence of the situation to give to your human resources department and attorney. Age discrimination and harassment are illegal in the workplace, and your employer is aware of that fact. If it continues or results in your demotion or firing, you can pursue further legal assistance to obtain compensation for your unfair treatment.

Age discrimination has no place in American business. Speak up if you’re discriminated against. You don’t have to fight it alone.