If your boss comes up to you and tells you that you're being fired because you're too old, it's a clear case of age discrimination. However, the sad reality is that employers often do discriminate when hiring, firing and promoting workers, but they just don't do it so obviously. They work hard to hide it or make it look like something else.
For example, if an employer wants to hire younger workers, they may claim they are eliminating certain jobs. They then fire a handful of older workers. Shortly afterward, they start a "new" division with "new" jobs, and they hire younger workers to fill those spots. In reality, the new jobs are just re-branded versions of the older jobs, now with young workers in place.
Sometimes, employers actively work hard to build a case so they can fire a worker they don't like. For example, everyone may take extra-long lunch breaks. You may have been doing it for a decade. However, you're suddenly getting written up for it, when you never have before. The employer could then use these reports to fire you, even though what you're doing was never an issue before. That could indicate that there's another reason -- like race or religion -- for which you're really being fired. They're just working hard not to mention it.
It's critical for federal workers to know that they have employment rights, and that it's illegal to discriminate on the grounds of race, gender and age -- just to name a few -- to guide hiring and firing practices. If you think your rights have been violated, be sure you know the next legal steps to take.
Source: Huffington Post, "11 Sneaky Ways Companies Get Rid Of Older Workers: Forbes," Donna Ballman, accessed Nov. 25, 2016