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Techie world's want of 20-something CEOs results in discrimination

While it's common knowledge that age discrimination is illegal in San Diego workplaces, it's also fairly difficult to prove such allegations against employers in California who use age as a factor to rule out an otherwise-qualified job candidate or candidate for promotion.

After all, how can a worker actually prove that age was the key factor in being denied a job or promotion when those in power can simply say there were other factors considered when denying a job or promotion?

The practice of age discrimination, both illegal and unfair to qualified workers, does happen in the U.S., and it seems Silicon Valley is one area where the practice runs rampant.

One 60-year-old man interviewed for several chief executive officer positions in Silicon Valley. He noted that he was being turned down time after time for positions he was duly qualified for and had the skills and experience to succeed in. He would discover afterwards, though, that in each case a much younger, much less-experienced person had been hired instead.

The man's solution to fight this discrimination included shaving his head, getting an eyelid lift, and ditching his formal clothes and loafers for t-shirts and sneakers. It apparently worked: He is now the CEO of a mobile conference call company.

Silicon Valley and the techie world aren't the only offenders, of course, but they do seem to be at the forefront of offenders nationwide. It's common to see high-ranking professionals in their 20s and to hear investors say outright they prefer to see people under 40 running operations.

Although data on age discrimination by region is not available, it's hard to say how Silicon Valley measures up against other areas of the U.S. However, statistics from 2010 show one-fifth of 18,335 employment cases filed with California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing cited age discrimination.

Source: Reuters, "Silicon Valley's dirty secret -- age discrimination," Sarah McBride, Nov. 27, 2012

  • Our firm handles a variety of employment law and job rights issues, including complaints about discrimination on the basis of age. To learn more about employees' rights, please visit our San Diego employment discrimination attorneys page.