Increasingly common on a job listing’s list of qualifications and requirements, applicants are asked to be a “digital native”, wording that hints toward favoring younger age groups and a form of age discrimination. Seeking to discourage older applicants from even applying for these open positions, much less expect being hired, the wording is ambiguous enough not to have yet been challenged in court. Even so, it should be said though that any sort of age discrimination employed to keep a company’s workforce free of any age, sex, gender, or race group is still surely illegal and a form of discrimination, regardless of whether it is specifically spelled out.
Previous phrasings of this same sentiment include “new grad,” specifically used by Apple, Yahoo, Dropbox, and Electronic Arts. Other common wordings include “recent college graduate”, “college student”, and “young blood”. They have fallen out of favor as in 2013, Facebook underwent litigation for and settled an age discrimination lawsuit regarding a job posting including the phrasing “Class of 2007 or 2008 preferred.”
According to a recent study held by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 82% of Americans aged 60 and older plan to work past the age of 65, thinking about possibly skipping retirement altogether. This desire to keep working may be the fear of outliving any remaining retirement savings, a fear shared by 42% of people surveyed in their sixties.
If this older generation of Americans plans to continue working and job listings increasingly include discriminatory language in them aiming to reduce or eliminate unwanted older workers, companies may very well find these terms and phrases, though commonplace now, problematic legally and morally. The connotations of phrases such as “digital natives” are an obvious form of age discrimination against older workers, completely disregarding whether they may in fact be equally or more qualified for the same positions. As any form of age discrimination is illegal in California following the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, age discrimination lawsuits and complains with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the EEOC, may become increasingly common in the future.
Workplace discrimination because of age is illegal in California. If you feel you have been a victim of employment age discrimination in your workplace, contact the attorneys at Carlin and Buchsbaum today.
Carlin and Buchsbaum are workplace discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles, California. Our discrimination lawyers specialize in employment law and all forms of discrimination in the workplace.