New statistics, produced by Reuters, have confirmed that ageism is a worse problem than any other form of discrimination in California. What's more, it has been suggested that this trend is, in part, driven by Silicon Valley's obsession with youth-led start-up firms.
The report warns that as the Valley goes in search of the next Mark Zuckerberg, it is violating US Federal Law which specifies that job candidates should be of a certain age. Unlike more traditional areas of the business community, it is not unusual for technology firms to be led by people in their twenties, with older candidates often ruled out for a vacancy because they do not fit the profile.
In an interview with Reuters, Cliff Palefsky, a lawyer who has received age-discrimination enquiries from people in their early 40s,said: "I don't think in the outside world, outside tech, anyone in their 40s would think age discrimination was happening to them." And according to Mr Palefsky, this is "100 percent due to the new, young, tech start-up mindset".
Figures from California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing show that of the 18,335 employment cases filed in 2010, a fifth cited age as the main concern, ahead of more common forms of prejudice, such as race and sexual orientation. Indeed, on a national scale, age features much lower down on the list of prejudices, behind race, sex, and disability.
In some of the most extreme cases, this has in fact led some candidates to turn to plastic surgery; their rationale has been that a change to their appearance might make them look young and thus a more employable candidate. This notion has been supported by Roy Hong, the Chairman of the Medical Foundation's plastic surgery department in California, who explained that men represented 14 percent of his customers in 2011, up from nine percent a decade ago.
Is the youth-orientated outlook of Silicon Valley firms justifiable on any level; and what more can be done to support older workers?