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I work in the tech industry and am over 50. Should I be worried about ageism?

The tech industry tends to get some heat about ageism. A job posting a few years ago that clearly stated “we hire old people” did not help matters.

Unfortunately, there is good reason for these frustrations. Studies show that the tech industry tends to favor those around 30 years of age and that a stigma exists for those over the age of 35. In addition to these studies, workers have filed hundreds of reports against some of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley calling on officials to address ageism within the industry.

What is ageism?

Ageism is negative treatment within the workplace related to one’s age. Ageism occurs when employers fire, fail to promote, encourage retirement, or target layoffs simply because of a worker’s age.

More subtle signs of ageism could include asking a candidate or worker’s age when it is not relevant to the position or only giving younger counterparts prized projects.

Is ageism illegal?

It is illegal at both the federal and state level in California. At the federal level, the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act covers those over the age of forty. At state, the Fair Employment and Housing Act also covers those over the age of 40.

What if I believe I am the victim of ageism?

Since ageism is illegal you likely have recourse if you are the victim of ageism. If you believe you were passed up from a promotion or wrongfully terminated from your position solely based on the fact that you were older than other candidates, you could have a claim. If successful, the claim can result in reinstatement and potential monetary awards. An attorney can review your case and discuss your options.

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