Age discrimination occurs when an employer makes a negative decision about an employee’s employment based on his or her age. A recent survey showed that two out of every three workers age 45 and older have experienced or witnessed age discrimination in the workplace. When employers allow an ageist work environment to develop, employees’ ability to get hired, earn a living, and work in a positive environment can be harmed.
NYC Attorneys Fighting for Victims of Ageist Work Environments
If you are age 40 or older and have been subjected to an ageist work environment in New York City, you may have a right to pursue a legal claim for compensation. Local, state, and federal employment laws prohibit discrimination against employees aged 40 and older based on their age. The New York City employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP have extensive experience representing employees subjected to unlawful age discrimination. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a skilled attorney.
Ageism in the Workplace Is Harmful to Employees
Ageist work environments occur when owners, managers, or co-workers make negative decisions or present negative attitudes toward others because of their age. Unfortunately, there are many stereotypes about older workers. Perpetuating the stereotypes can hurt older employees and make it difficult for them to get hired, obtain promotions, and otherwise succeed in their careers. Ageism in the workplace can also lead to companies laying off large swaths of older employees because they think younger employees better understand new technology.
As the retirement age gets lower, in part because of job displacement and ageism, so has the expected retirement age. However, Medicare benefits and 401K benefits may not be available for older employees who are forced out of the workplace because of ageism. Changes in relevant laws could mean these important benefits will be pushed out even later. It’s unacceptable for New York City employers to lay off employees with experience and relevant skills based on their age. Employees forced to retire earlier than they want to retire may experience worse health-related conditions than their counterparts. They may also suffer stress from worrying about finances.
Common Examples of Ageism in the Workplace
Many employers know that discriminating against employees based on their age is unlawful. They may try to hide their ageist workplace practices by claiming they are making decisions based on the employee’s track record, the economy, or other legally acceptable reasons. As a result, it can be challenging to prove ageism in the workplace. Age discrimination takes many forms, and there are countless examples in the workplace, including the following:
- Your employer lays you off despite positive reviews and gives your job to a younger worker who is not as qualified as you
- Your employer is facing budget cuts and chooses to lay off employees, the majority of whom are over 40
- You hear your manager discussing how they would like a more youthful workforce
- You hear your manager discussing how older workers don’t know how to use technology
- You apply for a job, and the recruiter makes a derogatory comment about employees over 40
- Your employer says he or she is terminating you from your position because you “aren’t a good fit for company culture.”
- Management stops training older employees and instead uses company resources to train lower-salaried, younger employees
- Your employer refuses to hire employees over the age of 40
- An employer begins laying off older employees with higher salaries and more employment benefits
New York City and State Laws Prohibiting Ageism
Many employees suffer the consequences of an ageist work environment, but when does ageism cross the line from detrimental to unlawful? Federal, state, and New York City laws prohibit age discrimination. Each law has specific elements that an employee needs to prove to recover compensation by filing a claim. Federally, the age discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on age and protects employees over 40.
The New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws offer even broader protection, including prohibiting age-based discrimination against employees under 40. An experienced employment attorney can help you evaluate the best legal strategy for your case.
Reverse Ageism at Work
Most of the attention related to ageism in the workforce involves older employees facing stereotypes and discrimination. However, younger employees can also suffer negative consequences from ageist work environments. For example, an employer may refuse to talk to potential employees at a job fair because they look young. In other cases, employers might refuse to provide opportunities to employees based on their perceived youth. If you are under 40 and have experienced an ageist work environment, you may have a valid claim for compensation through the New York state or New York City Human Rights Law.
Hostile Work Environment
Employers cannot discriminate against employees based on their age. Additionally, employers cannot allow a hostile work environment to occur due to age-based harassment. When an employer allows an environment where offensive or derogatory remarks, jokes, and slurs occur based on an employee’s age, they can be held accountable. Anyone age 18 or older has the right to bring a claim against his or her employer for age-based harassment under state and city law. Federal law will only protect workers over 40 from hostile work environments based on age-based harassment. To successfully bring a hostile work environment claim, you must show that the harassment is pervasive enough to hinder a reasonable person’s ability to work in that environment.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Skilled NYC Employment Attorney
Do you suspect you have been subjected to an ageist work environment in New York City? If so, you may have a right to stop age-based discrimination and hold your employer accountable through a legal claim. The age discrimination Attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP have trusted advocates with a proven track record of successfully obtaining compensation for our clients. Don’t hesitate to contact Lipsky Lowe LLP and schedule a consultation if you are currently experiencing or have experienced ageism in the workplace.