Feeling like you’re being discriminated against at work is unsettling. For many employees, workplace discrimination is something that comes with the job. It shouldn’t be the case, but too many fear repercussions from their employer, and cannot risk losing their jobs and benefits.

There are state and federal laws in place to protect workers from age discrimination, just one of which is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). This federal law protects employees who are 40 or older from age-based discrimination in hiring, promoting, discharge, compensation, or terms/ conditions/ privileges of employment. The ADEA is enforced by the EEOC and supported by employment attorneys who fight to protect workers’ rights.

If you believe that you are being discriminated against at work, there are four key signs that may help support your case:

Blatantly Biased Comments

While your boss or coworkers may mean it in jest, being called “old man” or “grandma” is a blatant sign that more senior workers are not respected. Some comments may be more subtle (such as questions about your retirement plans) but still attempt to jab at your age. Keep track of such comments and write down who said them, at what time, and under what circumstances.

Preferential Treatment of Younger Employees

The reason you may suspect age discrimination is likely due to your perception of how younger employees are treated. If you find a pattern of older, but qualified employees being laid off in exchange for younger employees being hired, or notice that fewer qualified, but younger coworkers are being promoted, these may be signs that age is a factor in hiring practices. Take notes of exactly who is being promoted for what position, and who was more qualified. Take note of who is being laid off, and who is being hired to replace them simply because they are younger. Replacements may be younger and receive a smaller salary.


This is another instance of preferential treatment to younger employees. If you look around and notice that younger employees are using the best equipment, given the best leads, or are assigned preferential tasks, it may be an indication that older workers are not being treated equally. If your boss excludes older employees from important meetings, it may be that your employer is engaging in discriminatory practices.

Sudden Downplaying of your Efforts

Since you began working for this employer, you have given your job your all. You have done everything in your power to succeed and do things right. One day, your boss starts giving you negative performance reviews and writing you up for minor things you have never had trouble with, or were never an issue up until this moment. If you notice that your boss’s or coworkers’ attitudes about you change after you hit a certain age milestone, and you start getting negative feedback for the first time, you may have a viable age discrimination claim.

An employee who notices one or several of these signs at work may benefit from speaking with a dedicated age discrimination attorney to help evaluate the case. In Virginia Beach, Bertini Law is a boutique firm devoted to fighting discrimination of all kinds while protecting the rights of their clients every step of the way. To begin your journey toward a tolerant work environment, call (727) 222-9165 to schedule a consultation.