John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
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Facing ageism in Minnesota workplaces

Age discrimination is a topic that is concerning to both employees and employers in Minnesota. A recent article noted that this type of discrimination may in fact be the biggest challenge that employers will face in the coming years. This is particularly true when one considers the gradual aging of the American workforce, and how long the so-called "baby boomers" will want to work.

The problem, from an employer's standpoint, might be a technology gap. Many employers are embracing the efficiency that a technologically-savvy workplace can bring and, in many cases, that means that workers must be familiar with cutting edge computers, software and other technical applications. Unfortunately, this may not be an area where aging workers excel, or where they have experience. Thus, there may be a technology gap between employers and potential employees.

However, from the employees' standpoint, the need to remain in the workforce longer and earn an income is pressing. Not all workers have a 401(k) or other retirement accounts to fall back on -- they will depend wholly on Social Security benefits when they retire.

This schism is an area that is ripe for age discrimination to occur. As the recent article noted, at present 13 percent of the population in America is over the age of 65. That percentage will only continue to grow. Employers would do well to remember that it is illegal to discriminate against workers and potential workers based on their age. Those in Minnesota who believe they have been the victim of age discrimination in the workplace should explore their legal options under state and federal law.

Source: hrdive.com, "Is pervasive ageism employers' next discrimination challenge?," Ryan Golden, June 19, 2017

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