Michelle Cohen Levy

Honest.
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Older workers in Florida and around the country may feel that they are valuable employees who bring wisdom, maturity and experience to their workplaces. Unfortunately, however, there are employers and work colleagues who may not feel the same way. Negative attitudes toward and stereotypes of older workers can lead to a hostile, discriminatory work environment.

Many older workers report verbal harassment and limited opportunities for hiring and advancement. These workers often feel that younger colleagues, managers and executives are unwilling to work past their assumptions that older workers are less savvy about technology, are poor communicators and have less physical stamina than younger people.

These attitudes can take a toll on older workers. Some people find themselves shut out of the hiring process entirely while others feel that their employment is more precarious, suspecting that they will be first to be fired in case of downsizing or reorganization. These workers may also feel as though they are being passed up for new jobs or projects that they are otherwise qualified for.

Federal law is clear, however, that it is illegal to discriminate against workers age 40 and older. Individuals who feel that they have been discriminated against or have had to cope with a hostile work environment may have options, including filing a discrimination complaint with government regulators or claiming damages.

Individuals who suspect that they are the victims of age or other types of workplace discrimination may benefit from speaking with an experienced employment law attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client’s situation and make recommendations for reporting the violations and seeking compensation from the employer.