Oakland Remote Workplace Age Discrimination Attorney

Oakland Age Discrimination Attorneys

While flexible remote work options were already becoming popular before COVID-19, the pandemic has led to an even greater shift to work-from-home arrangements. A common assumption is that remote workplaces allow employees to interact with coworkers and others in ways that do not draw attention to age. For example, age is typically not a factor when conducting business over the phone or via email.

The truth is age discrimination remains a harmful reality in the era of remote work, and older workers are often the targets. Age-related stereotypes, which are often to blame for discriminatory behavior, continue to persist. Instead of valuing the experience and input of older employees, some employers shun them in favor of younger workers.

Treating a worker or colleague unfavorably based on their age is unlawful. If you have experienced age discrimination in your remote workplace, an Oakland employment lawyer can help you pursue compensation and ensure your employer stops the discriminatory practices. Erlich Law Firm is dedicated to standing up for workers who have faced age discrimination.

What is Age Discrimination?

Many people do not realize that labor laws apply not just to physical workplaces but also to remote work environments. Federal and California labor laws classify age as a protected characteristic.

Employees who are 40 years of age or older are protected from discrimination or harassment based on their age under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Businesses with 20 or more employees are subject to the ADEA, while the FEHA applies to workplaces with at least five workers.

Age-based discrimination is unlawful across all aspects of employment, ranging from hiring and training to promotions, pay, and firing. Additionally, harassing a worker because of their age is illegal. While the law does not bar isolated incidents or offhand comments, harassment is unlawful when it occurs frequently and results in a hostile work environment.

Major Employers in Oakland

Oakland is home to corporate headquarters as well as small businesses that make up its diverse workforce. Some of the largest companies in this vibrant East Bay city include Kaiser Permanente, The Clorox Company, Pandora, East Bay Regional Park District, Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Headquarters, Southwest Airlines, Pandora, Robert Half Recruiters & Employment Agency, Renew Financial and more.

While many employers require in-person work, others allow employees to work remotely full-time. Some companies opt to use a hybrid model in which employees are allowed to work remotely on certain days in a workweek.

How Does Age Discrimination Occur in Remote Workplaces?

Remote work typically requires technology such as laptops and online tools. Employers may incorrectly assume an older worker is incapable of using virtual platforms, which may form the basis for discriminatory practices. An employer firing a senior employee and filling their position with a younger, less-experienced hire is a way in which age discrimination can occur in a remote workplace.

The tech industry in particular, has been accused of perpetuating age discrimination against older members of the workforce. For example, younger employees may be given more promotions and opportunities than older workers because they are assumed to be more tech-savvy.

If a worker previously worked in the office or physical workplace and then switched to remote working, they may already have established professional relationships with coworkers and supervisors. Such situations can give rise to biases and stereotypes about the employee’s age. For example, bosses or coworkers may discuss their age in disparaging ways through online chats or emails.

It is not uncommon for remote workers to carry out their job duties via email, instant messaging, or phone calls without having to interact face-to-face with managers, colleagues, or clients. In such circumstances, a worker’s age may remain unknown if they have never worked in the physical workplace.

Nonetheless, age continues to be a discriminatory factor in remote work arrangements. Workers who conduct video calls or attend virtual meetings via online platforms may face age-based assumptions, just like during in-person meetings.

An important point to note is that to have a legal case for age discrimination, an adverse employment action must be taken against you based on your age. For example, an employer firing or demoting an employee because of their age may be considered age discrimination. An offhand remark about your age, for instance, is not enough grounds for an employment lawsuit.

Common Types of Age Discrimination

Age discrimination can occur in a variety of ways. Sometimes it is overt, while in other cases, it may harder to determine whether age is the motivating reason for the unfair treatment of an older worker.

Age discrimination is unlawful in hiring and recruiting, day-to-day employment practices, and the termination of a worker. Here are some common forms of age discrimination older employees may face:

  • Wrongful termination
  • Layoffs
  • Demotions or pay cuts
  • Unfavorable job assignments
  • Biased promotion decisions
  • Being forced to quit
  • Hostile work environment due to age-related jokes

Age Discrimination Across Different Industries

Oakland’s most common job types include management occupations, employing more than 28,000 people, and office and administrative support occupations, with around 21,170 employees. Sales-related occupations are the top three job groups, with about 17,890 workers.

Discriminatory treatment is not just limited to the above jobs. Oakland is home to various industries, and age discrimination can occur in any of them.

Age discrimination, however, is more prevalent in certain sectors, such as tech companies. While some forms of ageism may be more likely to take place in traditional workplaces that involve face-to-face interactions, discriminatory treatment can also extend to online spaces in remote work environments.

Business and Finance

Workers in the business and finance sector may suffer discrimination based on the assumption that they are too old to learn new things and keep up with the demands of a fast-paced job. Business and finance positions exist in a wide range of Oakland companies, including Edward Jones, PG&E Corporation, Renew Financial, and others.

Remote work involves heavy use of technology such as laptops and communication software. When working remotely, age discrimination in the business and finance industry may occur in various ways. For example, a worker over 40 may be paid less or denied benefits, or an employer may enforce a policy that negatively affects older employees.

Additionally, there is a perception that older workers are preoccupied with family life and, therefore, not as productive as an employer requires. Workers over the age of 40 may be seen as unable to handle urgent tasks or unavailable to remain on call.


Oakland is home to both established tech firms as well as startups. Among the top tech companies in the city are Pandora, Mosaic, Marqeta, and Everlaw. VSCO is a digital media company that was founded in Oakland and has headquarters in the city.

The tech industry is notorious for leaning into age-related stereotypes and preferring young employees instead of older workers. The average age of tech workers is 38 years old, compared to age 43 for employees outside the tech industry. Several Bay Area tech companies like Google, Oracle, and Workday have faced lawsuits for age discrimination in recent years.

Workers over the age of 40 may unjustly be seen as resistant to change or limiting innovation. Tech employees who work remotely may face ageist comments or even be overlooked for promotions in favor of younger workers with less experience, constantly having to prove they can keep pace with the cutting-edge industry.

Firing a worker based on their age is also unlawful. For example, an employer may use an older tech worker’s inability to meet deadlines as a pretext for firing them to hide the actual reason for termination, which may be age discrimination. A pretext is a provably false reason for covering up discriminatory employment practices.

Marketing and Advertising

Employers in the marketing and advertising fields often associate younger workers with higher levels of creativity and technological prowess. Meanwhile, older employees are viewed as less imaginative and more averse to change.

Marketing and advertising firms in Oakland include WHM Creative, Carol H Williams Advertising, and Funworks, among others. Collaboration is a key part of working in the marketing and advertising industry. With remote work, it may become easier for coworkers to exclude older workers from virtual meetings and discussions.

Sometimes the technology necessary for remote work can serve as a basis for age discrimination. Participating in video calls across platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams allows people to make age-related assumptions, just as they would in face-to-face interactions. 

Employees over the age of 40 are likely to have a deep understanding of the industry, life experience, and the ability to complete tasks efficiently. Unfortunately, many Oakland workplaces fail to recognize the value of older workers. Instead, they are often judged as less capable of adapting to digital communication and newer working methods that are required in marketing and advertising.

Older employees who work remotely may be first in line for layoffs or reduced hours. Targeting a worker for negative employment actions based on their age is unlawful and can be considered a form of age discrimination.

Filing an Age Discrimination Claim

If you have experienced an adverse employment action based on your age, you should speak to an Oakland employment lawyer. Employees who suffer age discrimination while working in a remote workplace can sue their employer under the FEHA or ADEA. When a claim is successful, the worker can recover compensation for lost wages and benefits, among other damages. A skilled employment lawyer can protect your rights and help you through the entire legal process.

Documentation Needed in an Age Discrimination Case

Although age discrimination happens far too often in Oakland, proving its occurrence can be challenging because employers tend to be good at hiding their discriminatory practices. As a result, it is important to have an experienced employment lawyer representing you. The attorney will have a deep knowledge of the California labor laws that apply to the case and can help you gather evidence to support your claim.

To have grounds for an age discrimination claim, you must show that you are 40 years of age or older, as this is the age group that is protected by law. Beyond the basic age threshold, you need to prove that you faced a negative job-related action like being fired, demoted, or passed over for promotion. The evidence must show that your age was the motivating factor behind your employer’s adverse employment decision.

There are two main kinds of evidence for proving age discrimination: direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence includes clear statements, emails, or other communications that reveal age-based discriminatory intent. Circumstantial evidence involves showing a pattern of discriminatory behavior.

When you are working remotely, a lot of communication occurs online through instant messaging, emails, and file-sharing platforms. As a result, you are more likely to have direct evidence that may help prove your age discrimination claim.

The specific evidence needed varies depending on each worker’s situation. Make sure you keep track of all instances of suspected discriminatory treatment you experience. Note down as many details as you can, such as when, where, and how the age discrimination occurred. 

At Erlich Law Firm, we provide each client with tailored legal representation based on their individual claim rather than using a blanket approach to all cases. A skilled Oakland age discrimination lawyer will help you identify the evidence needed to support your claim and obtain compensation from your employer. We can help you uncover inconsistencies in your employer’s justifications and find proof of discriminatory intent.

Call for a Free Case Evaluation

If you have been subjected to age discrimination at work, Erlich Law Firm can advise you of your legal options. Our Oakland employment lawyers believe in righting injustices in the workplace, whether they occur in a physical office or a remote work environment. Get started today with a free consultation.


My parents were heavily involved in community organizing. Seeing neighbors and friends’ parents struggle in the workplace gave me a sense of purpose that I wanted to help others. Many employees feel helpless and powerless in the workplace, and helping them vindicate their rights is the right thing to do.

- Jason Erlich

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