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In this age of technology, does age work against older workers?

There are various bases of valid workplace discrimination lawsuits. We commonly hear about sexual harassment or religious discrimination. But there is a protected class of workers, a class we will all become part of someday, that also faces illegal hardships in the workforce: the demographic of workers who are 40 years old and older.

Older workers are protected from discriminatory practices in the workplace that specifically compromise their rights to work. Ageism laws protect workers 40 and over from losing their jobs due to their age. This is true for any industry in California, including its cutting edge technology and web industries.

Some former Hewlett Packard employees are exercising their rights to work by suing HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise for alleged age discrimination. They claim that they lost their jobs because of their ages. All of them are over 40 and, therefore, a protected class in terms of workplace discrimination statutes. 

According to the employment lawsuit, the business' CEO Meg Whitman had made comments suggesting a younger, "reshaped" workforce was important to the success of the business. Not only should older workers not be fired because of their age, but an employer is not legally permitted to encourage and adopt practices that would exclude older workers from the workplace. 

If an investigation tied to this discrimination lawsuit shows that there are more potential victims of ageism due to wrongdoing on the part of HP, it will be a problem for the big company. For anyone who has lost their job, HP would have to be able to show strong business-related reasons as to why those workers were let go. These reasons would have to be tied to measurable business goals and work performance. 

It would also be telling to look at HP's recruiting process and methods. If all new or recent hires are younger, that might be evidence of recruiting processes that tend to exclude candidates who are 40 and older. Discrimination law doesn't allow that, either. 

This real-life lawsuit against HP shows that age discrimination is a real threat to people's livelihoods. If you believe you are a victim of discrimination in the workplace, wrongful termination or biased recruitment practices, talk to an employment law attorney who can support you.


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