As you progress in your career, you improve your skills, expand your knowledge and generally benefit from the experience that comes from doing the same job or working in the same field for a long time. The longer you have to develop skills in a certain area, the more competent you will likely be at your work.

Your current employer or prospective future employers should see your age and experience as beneficial to the company. Unfortunately, some companies engage in age discrimination by refusing to hire, promote or retain workers past a certain age.

Companies may have reasons that they use to justify these behaviors, such as the inaccurate claim that older workers can’t properly use technology. However, regardless of why they do so, employers who discriminate against older workers violate federal law.

Workers over the age of 40 have protection from age discrimination

Once you reach the age of 40, the potential exists for an employer to discriminate against you solely because of your age. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, you have protection from discrimination or harassment that occurs because of your age once you’re 40 or older.

Common forms of discrimination include refusing to hire you, refusing to promote you, demoting you, terminating you or harassing and abusing you in the workplace by making jokes at your expense. It is possible for younger workers to create such a hostile work environment that workers over 40 feel like the only option they have is to quit and look for a different job.

Whether your co-workers and manager have created a hostile work environment or you have gotten let go from a job over your age, it may be time to consider taking legal action against your employer and standing up for your rights.