An employer may have legitimate reasons for declining to promote an older employee.
However, discrimination happens. You just celebrated your 41st birthday. If you were next in line for a promotion you did not receive, do you believe your age was a factor?
About age discrimination
It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any employee due to race, color, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, pregnancy, disability or age. This includes decisions concerning hiring, firing, pay, benefits, promotions and any other aspect of employment.
The federal law
The Age Discrimination Employment Act or ADEA applies to businesses with at least 20 employees. This 1967 law encourages the practice of employing older people based on their ability to perform the work required. It also supports finding solutions for issues aging workers face.
The state law
The Washington Law Against Discrimination or WLAD is broader than the federal law and applies to businesses with eight or more employees. It adds honorably discharged veterans, those with military status and the use of trained service animals for individuals with disabilities to the list of workers employers may not discriminate against. If a company is large enough, it must abide by the requirements of both the ADEA and the WLAD.
Policies in place
Your employer must have anti-discrimination policies in place; companies often have these as part of an employee handbook. You were well-qualified for the position you sought but you are over the age of 40. If you believe that your age was the determining factor in your supervisor’s decision to promote someone else, you might explore the idea of filing a lawsuit against your employer.