Age Discrimination and Technology in the Workplace

Today, companies highly rely on technology to get the job done. Employers are increasingly relying on computer systems and other forms of technology to increase output and productivity.  For this reason, employers usually require employees to be technologically advanced. If an employee cannot navigate the digital sphere, they are typically required to undergo training to become proficient.

As you would expect, many companies focus on hiring and training young individuals. Many employers assume that older people are not receptive to technological changes. Indeed, some older people find it challenging to navigate the digital sphere. But this does not mean older people are not receptive to technological changes. With proper training, even those older people currently finding it hard to navigate the digital sphere can become technologically advanced.

The unfortunate reality is that while companies do invest in training programs to ensure employees are technologically advanced, older individuals are less likely to be given such training opportunities. This can hinder older people’s career development and make them less competitive in the job market.

However, it is vital to mention that while employers are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure employees of all ages get a chance to learn and understand new technology, employees must be willing to learn and adapt to changes. Any resistance to change can leave an employee at risk of becoming a liability in a company.   

Tech-Savvy or Age Discrimination?

Employers have the right to decide that they only want to hire people who are good with computers and other forms of technology. If a company relies on technology to get the job done, it makes no sense to hire individuals who are not tech-savvy. However, it is vital to note that refusing to give an older person the same opportunity as a younger person can be considered age discrimination. Prioritizing young tech-savvy individuals for positions that require digital skills can result in age-based discrimination. Unfortunately, many older people have been denied employment opportunities or terminated under the guise that they are not technologically advanced enough.

Legal Protections

The good news is that there are laws in place that protect employees and job seekers from age discrimination. One such law is the U.S. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). When it comes to state law, California has the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The ADEA, the federal law prohibiting age discrimination, applies to all employers with 20 or more employees. The FEHA applies to all California employers with five or more employees. This means the FEHA generally provides more protection to older people. Under both federal and state law, it is against the law to discriminate against someone aged 40 or over.

That said, it is crucial to note that proving age discrimination in the context of technology can be challenging. Employment discrimination in the context of technology is rarely obvious. However, proving age discrimination in the context of technology is possible. An employment lawyer can help with proving such a case.

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

Contact a California employment lawyer for more information or help with an age discrimination case.