Federal law, which covers all states including New Jersey, prohibits age discrimination in employment against individuals 40 or older. Though the Age Discrimination in Employment Act was created over 50 years ago, the AARP reported last year that age discrimination continues to be an acceptable bias in the workplace. This is especially true in the tech industry.
According to a recent report from Visier Insights Database, the average age for tech workers is about five years older than the average age for non-tech workers. This is true for both managers (42 vs. 47) and non-managerial employees (38 vs. 43). An assistant teaching professor of business communications states that tech firms often have a set idea of what older employees are capable of and what jobs they should be doing. This ageism bias often leads to discrimination in hiring, pay, and promotions.
According to a 2019 study by Hiscox regarding ageism in the workplace, nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they had not received any age discrimination training in the prior year. The scarcity of age discrimination training may signal that employers are likewise unaware of certain inherent biases they may hold about older workers. Providing training to employees about age discrimination is a good start to eliminating age discrimination from the workplace.
Employers should also provide training on new technology programs, which can be done through a mentorship program. Though more experienced employees are typically the ones to provide mentorship, younger, tech-savvy employees can also mentor older employees who are less familiar with new technology programs.
Even if older employees may be less familiar with newer forms of technology, they possess other skills that younger employees are less likely to have, such as communication skills. Regardless of someone’s skill set, employers who discount potential employees or employees because of their age are in violation of the law. Employees who feel they have been discriminated against may want to speak with a plaintiff-side employment attorney.