Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
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7/7/2014
09:06 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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Too Old To Earn Big In IT?

If you're feeling like your IT career has passed its 'sell by' date, you're not alone, according to the results of our latest flash poll.

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Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/7/2014 | 10:53:12 PM
Re: Tw o Comments

@Number 6     I agree with second point.  Age discrimination is rampant and certainly not exclusive to IT, but the point you make about H.R. is one of my pet peeves - H.R. is always spouting about the rights of employees, particularly in terms of perceived harassment - but age discrimination, oh well that is the elephant in the room that they quietly condone.

Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/7/2014 | 8:00:41 PM
Re: There's always
@rich: I'm flattered that you see us as youthful. I won't reveal my colleagues ages, they're welcome to do that on their own if they want. I assure you that I am well within the age range allegedly protected under ADEA. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/7/2014 | 7:55:38 PM
Know the Law
If you're interested in hearing more from an attorney on this topic, please check out our archived radio show "Age Discrimination in IT: Know the Law," featuring employment attorney Monrae L. English. 

Extremely useful information during the audio session and the text chat. She says:

The cases that make it to court have to do with the firing process...
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/7/2014 | 7:44:33 PM
Re: There's always
@Rich, no need to rag on my colleagues here. let's keep the discussion focused on useful info, ok? 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/7/2014 | 7:28:40 PM
Re: There's always
@Rich: We'd love to add a few more, except it's illegal to employ 12-year-olds in the U.S. right now.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/7/2014 | 6:00:58 PM
Re: The IDEA field of dreams
@DDURBIN!: NP, thanks for clarifying. We could get another heated discussion going about IDEA-which also falls short according to parents i know. But that's a topic for another day. Thanks for all the info you're sharing, it's really an important topic and good to know the many extenuating factors we're facing.

I have to say since the 2000s, my own career has been less than linear, more like a series of peaks and valleys. Having also spent time working in the entertainment and marketing media I knew people who were getting botox on or before their 30th birthdays. One young woman I worked with then said "It's never too early to start!"

I wonder if these issues are uniquely American--is it because our culture is youth-obsessed in general? Do other cultures have more repsect for their elder employees?
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
7/7/2014 | 5:56:53 PM
Re: The ADEA field of dreams
Yep ADEA not IDEA of 1967 sorry about that typo.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/7/2014 | 5:54:04 PM
Re: The IDEA field of dreams
@DDURBIN1: Thanks for the additional information. Just to clarify: You are referring to ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act)? My understanding is that IDEA is the acronym for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Please let me know if I'm missing another law that I should be paying attention to!

To add to your point, here's an interesting article from Bloomberg last month about a change in IBM's policies regarding employees over age 45 who are :

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-12/old-fired-at-ibm-trendsetter-offers-workers-arbitration.html

While the article focuses on IBM, it also includes some interesting stats overall (again, these are not specific to the tech sector but give us additional insight into the scope of age discrimination in the U.S):

Age-discrimination claims filed with the EEOC rose 29 percent to 21,396 in 2013 from 16,548 in 2006. The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against an employee or a job applicant for a variety of reasons, including race, religion, and age if the person is over 40. The organization investigates discrimination claims, works to settle charges and has the authority to file a lawsuit.

And..

Workers in employment discrimination cases win against their employers about 21 percent of the time in arbitration cases, less than the 36 percent win rate in federal court, according to a Cornell University study that analyzed 1,213 arbitration cases from 2003 to 2007. These statistics didn't include cases that were settled, which is about 59 percent of arbitration cases and 70 percent for litigation.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/7/2014 | 5:38:29 PM
Re: There's always
@Rich: Yeah, but it's freakin cold in Russia!

:)
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/7/2014 | 5:37:12 PM
Re: Let them Know
@sferguson1001: I'm not a lawyer, so I can only answer your questions anecdotally. Based on some of the other comments here and conversations I've had off hte record with people, age discrimination is extremely difficult to prove in court and even more difficult to win such cases. if harassment is added to the mix, it does become a bit easier as harassment laws are somewhat tougher. Even then, though, it can be expensive and painful for the claimant. The most egregious cases are often settled out of court because a company will want to avoid the bad PR of a lawsuit.

The more cut-and-dry one's situation is, the easier it is to handle. For example, let's say you are an IT employee aged 50something, and you have a 30something colleague who is constantly harassing you and making disparaging age-related comments, creating a hostile work environment. In that case, if you have an enlightened manager and HR dept, you can file a complaint and be protected by anti-harassment laws.

However, what I'm seeing and hearing about is more of a systemic ageism that pervades the entire tech culture, and that is something that is extremely difficult to prove in court.

 

 
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2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
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