Growing older is not always a bad thing. In fact, in many cases, adding years means gaining wisdom, patience and experience. In the workforce, these qualities can be desirable. They are also rare qualities because more and more North Carolina businesses are marginalizing their older workers. Marginalization is an underhanded form of age discriminationoften used to make the workplace uncomfortable enough for older workers to decide to quit.
The term “marginalizing” comes from an editing practice of writing tiny notes off to the side in the margin. Employers who marginalize workers over the age of 40 may figuratively set them to the side by excluding them from critical meetings, relieving them of more important tasks, or making them feel useless, worn out or obsolete. Older workers may continue to receive positive performance reviews while watching their once-valued involvement in the company fade.
For many, this treatment leads to depression and other health complications. If the feeling of marginalization becomes overwhelming, a worker may quit, relieving the employer from having to offer a severance or other benefits. Not only is this treatment cruel to employees who still have much to offer, it is also discrimination and a violation of the employees’ rights.
Employees over the age of 40 can help themselves by remaining current on changes and advances in their industries and by being a valuable source of wisdom and experience. It is also wise to keep careful notes of any actions or conversations that feel like marginalization or other methods of age discrimination. Discussing one’s situation with an North Carolina employment law attorney may provide additional insights into the options available for victims of workplace discrimination.