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Terminology change may have same discriminatory intent

In 2013, Facebook settled a lawsuit brought by the California Fair Employment and Housing Department for an employment ad that stated the company preferred class of 2007 or 2008 applicants. Now, companies are starting to use the term 'digital natives" in their recruiting ads as a method of attracting younger employees. A recent search showed dozens of ads using this term.

The term was created in 2001 and is used for someone born after the start of the digital age. They are viewed to be native "speakers" in technology, as others, for example are defined to be native Spanish or English speakers. In contrast, those potential employees born before the start of the digital age are labeled 'digital immigrants".

A spokesperson for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that the agency has not taken an official position on if use of the term 'digital native" constitutes prohibited age discrimination. Before the EEOC will investigate, a job seeker must file a complaint with that federal agency. To date, no one has.

From 1997 to 2014, age discrimination filings with the EEOC increased from 15,785 to 20,588. Furthermore, of the 121 charges filed in 2014 for discriminatory advertising, 111 claimed job advertising that discriminated against older workers. When people believe that they have been unfairly discriminated against in the hiring process, input from an attorney may help them to understand actions they can take to help themselves and, in turn, others facing this illegal activity. Workplace discrimination of all types can often be very subtle but may be very damaging to a person's ability to be hired, promoted and maintained in a position. An attorney may help a person understand when an employer or potential employer has stepped across the line and is engaged in illegal hiring or employment practices.

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