The Great Recession challenged many retirement assumptions for those in their 50s and 60s. Investment portfolios have not recovered and many find they need to work more years and delay retirement.
Forbes writer Deborah L. Jacobs reveals the steps employers take to rid their workplace of accomplished, management-level professionals over the age of 50.
Performance improvement plans
Performance reviews may be your greatest enemy, if you are a manager or executive over the age of 50. After years, if not decades of stellar feedback, criticisms take the place of praise. Day-to-day nitpicking and reprimands for things everyone does will lead to write-ups. Suddenly, you become the target of “performance management,” which is a strong signal your employer has started building a case for termination.
As a mature manager, you could end up with a layoff notice. Later you might find out that younger employees assumed your duties and responsibilities under a slightly different title. Small staff reductions or mass layoffs can creatively disguise the firing of older employees by including a few younger staff members.
Reduction in duties and forced retirements
If you have seen progressive responsibility over the years, you may now find your duties reduced. Low-level tasks become a part of the daily work routine, suddenly reducing authority. Isolation is another tactic where older executives are moved away from co-workers.
Forced retirement caused with arbitrary threats that put pensions at risk are another tactic. While they cannot touch a 401(k) account, a violation of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a claim that failing to retire will affect your account does create a hostile work environment.
Put out to pasture
Perhaps the most sinister form of age discrimination involves overt harassment. Comments about age, retirement, or references that include “old man” or “old lady “does not just kill morale, it is a violation of your employee rights at any level.
As one of the older workers at your company, you need to take action immediately if you have an indication that adverse actions relate to your age. A disability claim may also overlap with age discrimination, if you request a medical leave or accommodation.
If you were terminated, laid off or just see it coming, learn about your rights. Whether you work in Michigan or Ohio, you need the help of someone who handles these types of matters and understands common employer tactics. Take action by speaking with one of the experienced employment discrimination lawyers at Nacht Law P.C.