What is age discrimination?
Legally speaking, discrimination and age discrimination is defined as: a distinction, exclusion or preference based upon a legally prohibited reason (ex: age, nationality, gender, political affiliation, sexual orientation, etc…).
In employment, age discrimination can be defined as suffering negative treatment because of your age. This can run the range from social isolation or harassment to being forced out or dismissed due to your age.
Your Expert Labour and Employment Lawyers for Age Discrimination in Montreal, Laval and West Island
What are the signs of age discrimination?
- Being pressured to leave your position
- Being excluded from decision making process
- Being frozen out
- Being demoted or having your role downgraded
- Being terminated
- Being told your position no longer exists
- If positions are eliminated, yours (and other older peoples) is among the first to be eliminated
- Being asked when you plan to retire
- Being encouraged to retire
- Being told that you “lack a modern perspective”
- You have been subtly replaced in your role by younger candidates
- Loss of opportunities for promotion (older candidates not considered for advancement behind their current position)
- Excluded and/or marginalized at work
- Being isolated
Age discrimination is exemplified by people treating older executives or managers less respectfully in certain circumstances. Employers can unfairly and falsely presume that they do not possess a modern outlook and that they are not innovative. Employers may also assume that older executives are looking to retire shortly and cannot be part of any long term plans. Often these assumptions are wrong, but they nonetheless can lead employers to subtly (or not so subtly) try to push those executives to leave. If you have experienced any of the signs listed above, you may have been subjected to age discrimination and should consult an expert labour lawyer to help you.
What to do in case of Age Discrimination
If you think you are a victim of age discrimination, consult a labour lawyer immediately so that you can:
- Determine whether anything can be done to help your situation
- Figure out the right strategy and approach
Do not sign anything. Do not say anything to anyone employed by your employer. Start taking very careful notes about what is going on at work.
Understanding Age Discrimination in Employment
Age discrimination can manifest in various ways within the workplace. It may involve:
- Hiring Practices: Employers may favor younger candidates over older ones during the recruitment and selection process, based on age-related biases or assumptions about productivity.
- Promotion and Advancement: Older employees may face barriers to career advancement or be denied training opportunities due to stereotypes about their ability to adapt to new technologies or learn new skills.
- Harassment and Hostile Work Environment: Age-related jokes, derogatory comments, or exclusionary behaviors can contribute to a hostile work environment for older employees.
- Forced Retirement or Dismissal: Employers may engage in practices that result in the forced retirement or dismissal of older employees based on stereotypes or biased assumptions about their productivity or capabilities.
Legal Protections Against Age Discrimination in Quebec
In Quebec, age discrimination in employment is protected under the CHRF. The CHRF prohibits discrimination based on various grounds, including age. Key legal protections include:
- Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (CHRF): The CHRF is a fundamental law in Quebec that protects individuals from discrimination in various areas, including employment. It ensures equal treatment and prohibits age discrimination against individuals in hiring, promotion, training, and dismissal.
- Quebec Labour Standards Act: The Quebec Labour Standards Act sets out certain employment standards and protections, including regulations related to age discrimination. It emphasizes fair treatment and equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of age.
Employee Rights and Remedies for Age Discrimination
Employees facing age discrimination in employment have rights and potential remedies to address these issues. Some common rights and remedies include:
- Right to Equal Treatment: Employees have the right to be treated fairly and without discrimination based on their age. This includes equal opportunities for employment, promotions, and training.
- Complaint Process: Individuals who experience age discrimination can file a complaint with the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ), the body responsible for enforcing the CHRF. The CDPDJ investigates complaints and may take legal action on behalf of the employee.
- Legal Representation: Employees can seek legal representation from employment lawyers specializing in human rights and discrimination cases. These lawyers can provide guidance, support, and representation throughout the legal process.
- Remedies and Compensation: If age discrimination is proven, remedies and compensation may be awarded to the affected employee. These remedies can include reinstatement, compensation for lost wages or benefits, and damages for emotional distress.