Can you have an age discrimination case if you are not yet a senior citizen? While you may not consider yourself to be on the older side of the workforce, federal employee protection against age discrimination starts at age 40. Studies show that this problem is especially pervasive in the tech industry. 

Explore some of the common actions that fall under age discrimination. 

The scope of the problem 

According to 2018 data reported by tech industry magazine Dice, age discrimination is widespread throughout huge global tech firms and tiny start-ups alike. IBM settled an age discrimination lawsuit for laying off 20,000 workers older than 40, representing 60% of the company’s total cuts across the workforce. In addition, research shows that salaries for tech workers begin to plateau around age 40 regardless of experience. Among respondents to Dice’s annual Diversity and Inclusion Survey in 2019: 

  • 80% of those ages 46 to 49 have concerns about age discrimination. 
  • 68% of Baby Boomers report limited job prospects in tech as they age.  
  • 40% of those classified in Generation X say they have had a decreased ability to earn a living as they age. 
  • 29% reported witnessing or being subject to age-related discrimination. 

Recognizing discrimination 

Age-related discrimination takes many forms and can sometimes be difficult to spot. Many older workers in tech have reported that their employer passed them over for promotions, resulting in them being unable to find a new position after a layoff, taking a pay cut at a new job and being out of a job they have held for years or decades. Negative comments about your age from coworkers or supervisors and limited training and development opportunities also fall under the category of discrimination. 

If you think your employer has made hiring, opportunity or pay decisions based on your age, you may be able to pursue legal recourse. Also, your employer cannot retaliate against you for making this type of report.