You’ve been with your business for many years, and one of the things you’ve always focused on was making yourself valuable. Until you were let go, you were one of the top-paid, and most highly skilled, people working at your company.
You never expected to get terminated so close to retirement. You only had a few years to go before you’d have been able to retire on time and with all the benefits you expected. What you also didn’t expect was for the company to replace you with a younger employee. That younger employee, you’ve also found out, is paid about half of what you were.
Is this ageism? Is there anything you can do to get your job back?
Ohio is an at-will state, which means that your employer can fire you at any time without having to give you a reason. That being said, as an employee, you’re still protected against being terminated due to your age or other protected reasons.
If you think that you were terminated due to age, you first have to start gathering up information to support that claim. What makes you think that your age was the reason for the termination rather than the cost of employing you? Was there something said to you or a colleague that signified that your employer wanted to replace you because you were old or nearing retirement?
For example, if the individual kept stating that they needed to get some new blood in the roles because the current employees were “old and tired,” then you might have a good opportunity to show age discrimination. If you were given nicknames at work, like “old timer,” that might also give you an opportunity to claim that age played a role in the decision to terminate you from your role.
Ageism is a difficult issue to deal with, but there are protections that can help you. You may be able to fight to get your job back or to ask your employer to pay for discriminating against you if you have enough evidence of your employer or others discriminating against you for your age.