Age Discrimination vs. Technological Competence: Know Your Rights in California

It has been more than 55 years since Congress outlawed age discrimination. Specifically, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) outlawed age discrimination in 1967. According to the ADEA, it is against the law to discriminate against an employee or job applicant over the age of 40. An employer cannot refuse to hire someone simply because they are 40 years or older. It is also illegal to fire, demote, or deny someone a promotion because they are over the age of 40. However, while more than 55 years have passed since age discrimination was outlawed, this form of discrimination remains a significant problem for workers in the United States.

Age Discrimination vs. Technological Competence

Unfortunately, technological advancements seem to be making things worse for older people. Older individuals who find it hard to keep up with technology may find themselves being discriminated against by employers. Employers may see older workers experiencing trouble keeping up with technology as incompetent or rigid. Because of stereotypes, such as older workers not being willing to learn new things or change, employers may be less willing to train older workers and provide them with the resources they need to improve their technological skills. Also, employers may overlook older workers for positions requiring advanced technological skills or exclude them from projects involving advanced technologies despite the workers being skilled in other areas.  

Indeed, technological competence is crucial, especially in this day and age. Today, most companies rely on technology to, among other things, improve productivity and remain competitive. However, while technological competence is crucial, so is every other job-related skill. An older worker may be unable to use a particular digital tool, but they may possess other relevant experience that can still enable them to do their job effectively. Such a worker deserves an opportunity to put their other skills to use. Additionally, older workers should be given training opportunities that focus on improving technological skills. 

Know Your Rights

As a worker in California, you have legal rights when it comes to age discrimination and technological competence. As hinted in the previous section, you have the right to be offered training opportunities that focus on improving technological skills. An employer cannot just assume that you cannot learn or are unwilling to learn. 

You also have the right to be free from harassment. Employers and other workers are prohibited from making age-related comments or jokes about your technological competence. Such things can create a hostile work environment, which can end up affecting your well-being.

If an employer discriminates against you because of your age, you can take legal action against them. You can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC or the Civil Rights Department (CRD) in California. If you fall victim to age discrimination, speak to a qualified employment lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can guide you on how to proceed with your case.

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

If you need more information or believe an employer has discriminated against you because of your age, contact a California employment lawyer.