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Can you prove age discrimination?

The trouble with age discrimination in the workplace is that your company may try to make it look like something else. If they deny you a promotion based on your age, they could try to blame your performance or your interview skills, for instance.

How can you prove that a company actually discriminated against you based on age?

First, some cases do revolve around direct statements. If your bosses say anything that shows that your age factored into the equation -- "We thought a younger employee would be a better fit," for example -- that could be evidence that your rights have been violated.

Most companies will not be so obvious, though, so you need to look for other signs of age discrimination. For instance, maybe you have been harassed about your age at work or your boss has made jokes at your expense. Perhaps your bosses keep asking when you're going to retire, implying that you should do it now. This behavior could be evidence of discrimination if you eventually get demoted, fired, or passed over for a promotion.

You may also feel like your boss shows favoritism at work or excludes you from things because of your age. For instance, perhaps you stop getting invited to meetings, so you're always out of the loop. Maybe you always get the jobs that no one wants, while younger, -experienced workers get the prime jobs. Whatever your employer's actions are, you can tell that the company is trying to make your life harder and showing a preference for younger workers.

Of course, all age discrimination does not work in favor of young workers and against older workers. Anyone can be discriminated against based on age, and this is generally illegal. Make sure you know what options you have if you are a victim of this kind of discrimination.

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