Lots of companies go through major shifts in their business, and hard times can force even stable businesses to make cuts. But what if your employer is using layoffs, “downsizing” and reorganization as an excuse to hide discriminatory practices toward older workers?
Lest you think it can’t happen, consider this: Corporate giant IBM is currently accused of doing exactly that – with leaked messages between some members of management openly denigrating older workers as “dinobabies” who should be made “extinct.”
How do you tell if a layoff is warranted or a smoke screen to hire younger people?
You may get your first clue before the layoff even happens. If the company starts promoting younger people into more authoritative positions and shifting workloads around so that the older workers are visibly doing less, that could be a sign the company is getting ready to clear out those older employees in favor of younger ones.
When the layoffs do happen, you may get your next clue simply by taking note of who is being let go and who is being kept. If the vast majority of those being laid off or outright fired are above 40 years of age, it’s definitely wise to be suspicious.
Post-layoff, look for additional signs. For example:
- A younger employee is moved into your old job
- The company is still actively hiring people with your skillset
- You never receive a clear explanation for why you were given a pink slip as opposed to someone else
Ultimately, you may have little more than your suspicions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get to the truth with some experienced legal guidance. Don’t let age discrimination derail your career. Fight back with all the legal resources available.