Although the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1966 is a federal law designed to prevent employment discrimination for individuals who are 40 years old or older, it reportedly hasn’t stopped some employers from finding a new way to state that they are looking for younger workers. According to Fortune, a curious new term has been appearing in job ads with employers looking for job candidates that are considered “digital natives.”
Digital native is a term first used in 2001 in an essay by author Marc Prensky. He defined the term as meaning someone who was born after or during the beginning of the digital world, or rather, that they began learning about technology at a young age and are what he considered a “native speaker” when it comes to the digital language of the Internet. For those who are older, Prensky refers to them as “digital immigrants,” meaning that they have basically adapted to their environment, but still have one foot planted in the past.
Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is aware of the new term, they have apparently yet to take a stand on the phrase. A spokesperson for the agency states that this is due in part to the fact that as of yet, no one who is job hunting has filed a complaint about the term. Until they do, the agency has no reason to investigate.
Individuals who believe they have been the victim of employment discrimination may have legal rights and could potentially benefit from learning more about the steps to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Source: Fortune, “This is the latest way employers mask age bias, lawyers say,” Vivian Giang, May. 04, 2015