This day and age, most employers are far too sophisticated and careful to make their desire to get rid of the older workers and replace them with younger ones obvious, because they are so afraid of being hit with an age discrimination / wrongful termination lawsuit by the older worker who is fired for some bogus reason. Our courts recognize how easy it would be for an employer to cover up the true reasons for terminating older employees behind such vague and hard to disprove reasons as performance, attitude, insubordination, etc. Therefore, the courts allow indirect evidence to be used as proof of age discrimination at workplace. Here are some of the typical signs of age discrimination at workplace that are often just the beginning of an employer’s campaign to push older workers out and replace then with younger employees:
(1) the managers’ comments about the need to bring more younger workers;
(2) referring to older employees by ageist nicknames, such as “father” or “father time”.
(3) encouraging older workers to resign;
(4) criticizing an older employee’s performing in a way that would suggest that age is a factor in that criticism. For instance, statements like “you are becoming slow; you are not the same as you used to be a few years ago” can be perceived as a ageist remark that can be used against the employer in court.
(5) a patter of laying older workers off due to “lay offs” or “slow-down” to only hire younger employees a short period of time later, due to “growth”
(6) setting mandatory retirement age policy, which in most cases is per se illegal.
Because for obvious reasons employers almost never admit to terminating their employees due to their age, small bits and pieces of evidence of possibly discriminatory motive can be critical in proving age discrimination in court, at arbitration or any other legal or administrative proceeding.