Age discrimination, the tech industry and California law

Age discrimination continues to pose a problem throughout the United States in various markets, particularly in the tech industry.

Employers in the technology industry are struggling to find good employees. In response, many IT leaders are pushing for increased availability of H1-B visas. Some professionals take issue with this approach, arguing that the belief that there is a lack of qualified employees in the United States is misguided. Instead, the problem may be that IT leaders are missing out on qualified applicants by focusing on entry level positions.

A professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis, Norman Matloff, has published many articles and papers on this debate. He contends that employers are focused too much on cheap labor and are missing out on hiring the "best and brightest" right here in the United States. The dilemma, according to Professor Matloff, is that employers classify positions as entry level. This automatically excludes candidates that already bring experience to the position, but allows employers to offer a lower salary.

In fact, this professor goes on to state in a recent article by Information Week - a news source for innovation in IT businesses - that the biggest problem in IT hiring is not a lack of qualified applicants. Instead the problem is age discrimination.

Age discrimination and the law

Age discrimination continues to pose a problem throughout the United States. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that there were 21,396 charges of age discrimination 2013 alone.

Essentially, age discrimination occurs whenever an employment decision is made based solely on the applicant or employee's age. Though there are a few exceptions when age can be considered, the practice is generally illegal under both federal and state law. Federal protections are available under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA. The law defines an employer as an industry that employs twenty or more workers. California state law provides additional protection under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or FEHA. This state law extends protections to cover most employers who employ five or more individuals.

Both laws protect against discrimination of workers aged 40 and older.

The state of California offers additional protections under various statutes and constitutional guarantees. Determining which law extends protections to each situation can be difficult. As a result, anyone that believes they are the victim of discriminatory practices in the workplace is wise to seek the counsel of an experienced age discrimination attorney. This legal professional will review your case and work to better ensure that your legal rights are protected. In some instances, remedies including back pay, reinstatement to a position, damages and attorney fees are available.

Keywords: age discrimination