The Intersection of Ageism and Technology in the Workplace

Over the years, every industry has seen technological advancements. Technology is changing the way business is done in virtually all industries. Advances in technology are helping companies in many ways. For example, technology is assisting companies to innovate at a faster pace, reduce costs, deliver high-quality products to meet consumer demand, and reach more customers (online marketing). However, while technology has a lot of benefits, it can create problems in regards to older employees. With technological advancement comes the issue of age discrimination. This is what is referred to as “the intersection of ageism and technology.” In this technological world, where we are bound to keep witnessing technological advancements year after year, the intersection of ageism and technology in the workplace is a major concern. As the labor force becomes more and more diverse in terms of age, there is a lot of concern that biases and discrimination pertaining to age will continue to manifest and interact with technological advancements.

Stereotypes About Older Workers and Technology at Work

Unfortunately, rapid technological advancements put older workers at a disadvantage. Many false stereotypes associated with older workers and technology plague the workplace. The following are some of these stereotypes;

  • Older workers are technologically incompetent: Technological incompetence, also called technological ineptitude, is when a person is incapable of using and adapting to technology. Some people assume that older workers are technologically incompetent. Some assume older workers cannot use and adapt to things such as computers, software, and smartphones. 
  • Older workers are resistant to change: It is a common misconception that older workers are resistant to embracing and learning new technologies.   
  • Older workers are not interested in technology: Some people assume that older workers are not interested in technology, and, thus, don’t see the need to up their tech skills.
  • Older workers are slow learners: It is also a common misconception that older workers take longer to understand new technology than their younger counterparts.

When the above and many other stereotypes about older workers and technology in the workplace continue to prevail, they may result in harmful effects, such as withheld promotions that are given to younger employees and denied job opportunities. 

Undoing the Bias Against Older Workers

Indeed, many years ago, older people may have struggled to adapt to new technology. For example, when the computer was first introduced, older people found it hard to use it. However, recent research shows that older workers are just as good with technology as younger workers. Research has found that older workers are willing to embrace new technology and capable of understanding new technology. So, while older workers may have faced challenges earlier on, today, older workers are just as skilled as young workers at using technology at work and should be given the same opportunities. For example, when offering training, employers should provide the same opportunities to both the younger and older workers.

A Lawyer Can Investigate Possible Age Discrimination

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a worker due to their age. Federal and state laws apply to discriminating against a worker because they are aged 40 and older. If you are discriminated against because of your age, ensure you speak to an attorney who can inform you of your legal rights and options.

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

If you have been a victim of age discrimination, contact a California employment lawyer near you for legal help.