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Job descriptions may hide age discrimination

California workplaces are demanding. Employers want people who have cutting edge training and are able to adapt to the latest and greatest techniques in the field. In many cases, this means mastering new technology and incorporating digital media skills into their day-to-day lives. However, many workers in California are getting older. As baby boomers approach retirement age, many of them are still in the workforce.

For some employers, older employees are not seen as desirable. They often think that older employees will not be able to compete in today's fast-paced and digital world. There is a stereotype that older employees are less experienced with digital technology, computers, the internet and social media.

Some employers have gone so far as to limit the people they will hire. These companies have gone to great lengths to ensure that only young people are considered for a position. One new trend is using the term "digital native" in their job requirements. This term implies that only people who have grown up with access to digital technology -- like the internet -- are qualified for a particular job. According to some, the term is one way to say that being young is actually a requirement for the job.

This term is replacing other similar terms such as "recent college graduate" or "college student" in job descriptions. These terms have been banned by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC says that terms like these violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Many wonder if the term "digital native" also crosses the line.

Under the Age Discrimination Act and other employee laws, it is illegal to discriminate against employees just because of their age. This means that hiring decisions cannot take a person's age into consideration. California workers should understand that such workplace discrimination is not only unfair, but also illegal.

Source: Fortune, "This is the latest way employers mask age bias, lawyers say," Vivian Giang, May 4, 2015

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