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Under federal law, people 40 and older may not be discriminated against by California employers. Many people may assume that older employees have it easy at work, having accumulated seniority and a strong reputation over the years. However, in reality, older workers may face a range of discriminatory conduct on the job. They may be expected to be less tech-savvy or find it difficult to understand pop culture or common trends. Older workers are widely seen as resisting change or having difficulty going through training or following directions.

In addition, it can be more expensive to hire older workers with decades of experience, another factor that can contribute to age discrimination. However, these negative stereotypes are often false and do not reflect the reality of older workers. In studies, older employees were found to feel more fulfilled and handle their responsibilities better than younger workers. They also have higher levels of specific skills and overall job knowledge. However, performance ratings continue to show signs of stereotype and bias. Older workers evaluated by younger managers have consistently poorer progress reports across industries and professions. Many experts believe that this trend could indicate the influence of negative stereotypes and potentially discriminatory beliefs.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination against workers 40 and up. However, the Supreme Court made it more challenging in 2009 for employees to successfully pursue a lawsuit against discriminatory employers. It placed the burden to show age discrimination on the employee. However, there are many cases where it is possible to establish clear discrimination by an employer.

Older employees continue to face discrimination on the job despite laws prohibiting this behavior. Workers subjected to employment discrimination who have lost their jobs or a promotion as a result can consult with an employment law attorney about their options to seek justice.