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Employment Law/Age discrimination


I was recently passed over for a promotion when my former boss retired. the company hired someone from outside the organization who, I was told, had more experience than I did.  It tuns out not to be the case, as I am in my late 40s with 25 years of professional experience. My new boss is about 18 years behind me.  I would be okay with that but, since hired, my new boss started she has changed and downgraded my position so much that it doesn't resemble the one I was hired for.  she terminated another woman in my dept. who was in her early 60s because she didn't have the right experience for the job.  No steps have been taken to replace the position, and I have been expected to handle the extra workload. Further, my new boss excludes me from most meetings that I should be involved in, and when she does she undermines me in front of my peers and my assistant.

I feel that I am being forced to resign, but I cannot afford to do that without another position.  I doubt that I would ever consider a lawsuit, but I do feel that I am being treated unfairly. I would like advice on how I can protect myself.  The company has a history with age relations. I think that nine out of the last ten terminations were people who are well over 40, and none of them have been because of poor performance.

Trisha - Age discrimination begins at age 40 in the law, so you are covered by the federal legislation. At this time, your only option may be to consult an attorney and have him or her send a warning letter to your employer that you believe you are the victim of age discrimination.  It's a hard claim to prove, but your company sounds as if it is being careless in its practices.  

All I can advise is to keep a notebook tracking all of the incidents that occur that you believe show age bias against you or against anyone else that you witness.  Hearsay doesn't count. If anyone else witnesses these events, note their names in your record as possible future trial witnesses.  

Ask your supervisor to give you an evaluation and list of recommendations to help you to perform the ob according to her expectations.  This should position you to show that work performance was not the reason for your termination if it comes to that.

It's never too early to start looking for a new job, and if you don't want to sue, that is your best option.  Good luck.  

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Margaret M. deMarteleire


I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.


Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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