Technology and Ageism in the Workplace
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, workers age 40 and over are protected from age discrimination in the workplace. This means that an employee cannot face harassment, discrimination, termination, or pressure to retire because of his or her age.
Older workers are often stereotyped as being inexperienced with new technologies and unwilling to learn how to use them. This can lead to discrimination against older workers that causes them to suffer emotional, psychological, physical, and financial harm. When age discrimination causes a victim to suffer financial damages, he or she can file a discrimination claim to seek compensation for the damages.
Older Workers’ Rights in the Workplace
In the workplace, workers over 40 have the same rights as younger workers. These include:
- The right to raises and promotions for which they are qualified;
- The right to reasonable accommodations for injuries, disabilities, and religious practices in the workplace;
- The right to take unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993;
- The right to be treated fairly, which includes the same opportunities for professional development, the same job performance standards, and the same disciplinary measures for transgressions as younger workers; and
- The right to file discrimination claims when they face workplace discrimination.
Examples of How Technological Inexperience Can Lead to Age Discrimination
There are many ways assumptions about older workers’ ability to learn and use modern technology can lead to discrimination against them. Examples of this type of scenario include:
- Excluding older workers from training on new technologies;
- Failing to copy older workers on emails and other messaging related to their job duties and projects out of the assumption that they cannot effectively use email and messaging systems;
- Specifically recruiting young workers for jobs that involve technology use. Simply advertising positions to younger workers and those at early stages of their careers is not discrimination, but doing so and explicitly excluding older workers from recruitment efforts is age discrimination;
- Mocking and harassing older workers about their assumed technological incompetence;
- Overlooking older workers for promotions due to the assumption that they will not be able to adapt to using certain technologies in the new role or that they will not continue to bring new technology to the workplace; and
- Selecting older workers as the first to be laid off in a merger with a technology company or if the technology in use after a merger is expected to change.
Work with an Experienced New York Age Discrimination Lawyer
When you face age discrimination in the workplace, do not stand by quietly and allow it to continue. Speak up to your supervisor and if necessary, speak with an experienced employment lawyer about pursuing an age discrimination claim. Contact our team at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. today to set up your consultation with us and get started on your case. We can answer all of your questions and help you determine the most effective course of action.