Facing the music or was it illegal?

Question:

I’ve worked in my company for 19 years and am 58 years old. Five months ago, my supervisor retired just before I was to receive my job review. Two months later, I received a job review from my new supervisor. He gave me “acceptable” ratings when previously I’ve only received “outstanding” reviews.

I was shocked and protested. In response he said, “Your last supervisor apparently let a lot of things slide, and I’m not him. You work slower than everyone else and appear to think it OK to plod along.” These mediocre ratings mean I’m a candidate for layoff, as I work in an oil patch company.

The next day, I asked my new supervisor to get in touch with my past supervisor, as his ratings and views of the previous 10 months needed to be merged into my scores for the review to be fair. We quarreled and I could tell he was getting angry. He asked, “How long have you worked here? Do you want to stay?” I took this as a threat.

I went to human resources for help, but wasn’t taken seriously. The HR manager also refused to contact my past supervisor. Apparently, this new review stands, even though it’s based on only two months with my new supervisor. What can I do?

Answer:

If your supervisor accurately assesses the situation and your performance, you need to up your game. He may grade harder than your past supervisor or your performance may be deteriorated in the last year. He may be under the gun to up productivity and need you to work harder and faster. Since you now work for him and his views impact your job future, you need to play by his rules.

Alternatively, you may be the victim of illegal age discrimination. If so, document the situation and visit your HR officer again. You deserve fairness and as a long-term employee, you’ve earned your company’s loyalty.

If you perceive age discrimination and your HR officer won’t help you, document that as well and seek help from the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission or the Alaska Human Rights Commission. You may also get help from the AARP Foundation Litigation, which has been highly successful in battling age discrimination.

© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of ”Beating the Workplace Bully” and ”Solutions” as well as owner of the management/HR consulting/training firm The Growth Company Inc. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at www.bullywhisperer.com

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