California employers may make the mistake of treating their older workers differently than their younger ones. However, this may be discrimination, and it could result in experienced workers leaving a company. If that happens, it could be deprived of the talent and knowledge necessary to grow and sustain a viable business. One sign of ageism is providing training and other professional development opportunities to younger works over older ones.
By depriving a group of workers the chance to develop, they may feel like they are valued less than their peers. This may result in older workers not trying as hard or otherwise not performing like they used to. Age discrimination should be made a part of an employee handbook just like sexual discrimination and other critical issues are. Employees and managers should be trained on and have a firm grasp of what that policy is.
If younger workers are allowed time off to tend to family matters, older workers must be given the same opportunity. Companies should avoid creating the impression that most workers are in their 20s or plan corporate outings that cater more toward younger workers. Management should keep an eye on any comments made about a worker's age as this could cross from friendly teasing to discrimination.
Ideally, protecting employee rights is a top priority for all employers. However, if a worker feels like his or her rights may have been violated, it may be possible to pursue legal action against an employer. An attorney may be able to review the case to determine if a worker was discriminated against based on age or other protected characteristics. If so, that person may be entitled to compensation or other relief either through a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict after a trial.