With unemployment reaching near 15%, a number the United States hasn’t seen since the Great Depression, many firms have moved to conducting their business online, a term now known throughout the country as ‘telework’. Older employees have taken a particular hit with these new guidelines. More and more employees are forced to learn to do their jobs while utilizing online platforms, and the training they get for it is minimal, if anything at all.
Older employees have not been prone to discrimination from employers in the past. The incorporation of technology into nearly every industry is only driving that boat even faster. And companies are not helping. According to one study from Hiscox in 2019 entitled Ageism in the Workplace found that over 60% of American workers did not receive on the job training within the last 12 months.
This is surprising for two reasons. The first is that it is much cheaper for a company to give instruction and teach current employees than it is to let go of said employee and onboard an entirely new person. Second, the first employee has been working with the company for years. Carla Bevins, and assistant professor of business communications at Carnegie Mellon University, pointed out that older employees usually provide much softer skills, meaning that once they are able to pick up the computer skills, they will adapt much easier to the different working environment that comes with it given their more developed experience.
Older employees may have noticed that today, more than ever, they are facing discrimination from their employers in the form of less projects being assigned to them, not being considered for a promotion, or even termination. They should understand their rights and know what legal actions they can take under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).