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Age discrimination leaves telltale signs of employer's intent

It's a matter of simple mathematics for a company: lose a seasoned worker with a relatively high salary and benefits, and replace him or her with a much younger in a much lower pay-scale and the company has pocketed substantial funds toward other purposes. Companies in Michigan or elsewhere that actively plot to carry out age discrimination are in a sense dooming their prospects for success. The proper paradigm today is not ruthless selfishness but instead is based on a growing practice of group inter-connectedness, individual self-worth and encouragement of creative expression.

The corporate culture of a company that intentionally devises schemes to squeeze out older workers is a corrupted one. The company can hardly excel long-term in the market place with attributes so out of touch with trending phenomena. In simple terms of employee loyalty and dedication to the job, that factor drops to a low point when employees and even managers are exposed to ruthless practices of throwing the faithful under the bus. A company will likely be a poor performer in all of its other processes when its employee base has no sense of dedication to succeeding for the company.

Even those companies that don't embrace such practices may look the other way in isolated instances where lower-level managers and personnel officers carry out dismemberment of faithful older workers. In those companies that do actively discriminate, there are usually warning signs that may tip off an employee that it's time to consult with an employment law attorney. If the company seems to be building a file of minor infractions against certain older employees for the first time, they should consider that they may be targeted, and should document all actions from that point on.

Changes in job description, disbanding the work group, having an employee teach a younger person the work duties, and revised policies may all be attempts at age discrimination. One EEOC spokesperson says that such treatment is not simply financially critical to workers but there is also a substantial emotional component, which includes missing regular routines and missing longtime friends and co-workers. The employee in Michigan will also have trouble entering into an adversarial relationship with the company.

Source:, Age Discrimination in Workplace has Warning Signs, Alan Van Zandt, Dec. 3, 2013

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