You’ve been in your field for around 30 years. You’ve worked hard to move up the ladder and get to where you are today. Of course, many things have changed in your workplace over the last three decades. The way employees are treated, how you complete your work and many other aspects of your work have changed.
One thing that you never thought would be an issue was having trouble keeping your job because of your age. In the past, you always focused on hiring older workers with more experience and education. Today, the company seems to be focused on hiring new workers with minimal experience. They can be molded and trained in a way that older workers can’t, you overheard one person state.
As an older person, you knew that you’d end up being affected eventually. You didn’t expect that it would be when you were seeking a promotion to move up to a regional position. You were the perfect candidate with all the experience needed. The person who was hiring told you to your face that they were looking for someone younger who could stay with the company longer.
Age discrimination is unfair and illegal. Employers and labor unions can’t discriminate against you based on your age. You have rights. An employer cannot:
- Force you to retire due to age
- Lay you off or fire you because of your age
- Refuse to hire you for a position due to age
- Use age as a reason not to give you a promotion or job.
It’s important to note that New Jersey’s laws do allow age to be a reason to deny a job, promotion, traineeship or apprenticeship if you are under 18 or over 70. If you are over 70, your employer does have a right to refuse to promote you to a higher position, but you can’t be treated less favorably than other employees due to age.
In your case, you’re not even close to 70, so it’s unfair for your employer to tell you they want to hire someone younger for the position. There are very few cases in which this would be acceptable, such as in a case where a specific age range is needed for a position (i.e.: an actor might need to be between 14 and 16 to play a high school student or between 30 and 40 for a specific role).
If you have questions about the situation you’re in and if it constitutes age discrimination, you should look into your legal rights. The laws are clear, and you may have a case.