Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ageism in the Workplace: Not the Price to Pay for Getting Old

Ageism in the workplace, as the name suggests, refers to discrimination regarding age in the workplace. Although less noticeable than any other sort of discrimination, it is never-the-less prevalent in every society. Age discrimination has a lot of faces in the workplace, and it can be due to being both younger and older than the general population.

Older people who are close to their retirement age have a hard time getting new job, even if they are more qualified than the other applicants. This is because, the employers in question think that they have no need of a job or because they ought to give the opportunity to someone younger and new. Also, sometimes it is assumed that they will miss work more or need frequent, if not regular, medical attention. Again, when it comes to lying off employees because of some reason, the older employees of the organization are usually the victim. Some employers prefer a fresh outlook and a younger mind for some specific posts rather than experience.
In some cases, experienced workers demand, or rather, deserve a higher salary than new faces in the field. A employee who has spend a large amount of time in a specific field, if s/he applies for work in a field different than his or her lifetime of work, there is a high chance the application will be rejected, on the basis that it will take them a much longer time to adjust to the new field.
Other reasons for not be willing to hire older people could be that they are usually averse to new ways and technology; they are slower to accept new ideas and reluctant to change their opinion or decision. Physically, they are slower and less productive in their ways.
On the other hand, young people applying for posts with heavy responsibilities are often not considered for the job because of lack of experience. Even with a high qualification, young applicants are rejected because they do not have enough familiarity with the job. Younger employees are not trusted with important assignments for fear that they might not be able to take proper decisions in times of need.
In general, it can be said that most organizations have a definite ides what their employees would look like, and decide to work with a workforce that is between a certain age limit, with a certain amount of experience and openness to new ideas. Anybody who falls outside this point of view is generally rejected or dismissed by them.
Almost everybody has to face ageism in the workplace at some time or another regardless of whether they were immune or discriminated earlier in their based on gender, race, background or sexual preference.
It is even possible to be a victim of age discrimination when a person is in their late-thirties. Deciding to change one’s field of career at this age, or wanting to start as an intern in a new field could turn out to be difficult even in one’s prime. Young people are preferred in some careers such as the creative and marketing field where they can bring new ideas to the table better than the older generation. Jobs that include physical activities and out-of-the-office activities prefer young people.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 forbids any discrimination in the workplace against anyone less than 40 years of age in the United States. The ADEA prohibits:
  1. Discrimination in hiring, promotion or wage based on age,
  2. Specification of age in job advertisements,
  3. Denial of benefits to older employees and
  4. Mandatory retirement in most sectors.
However, as with any form of discrimination, the main cure is to change the society’s point of view and thought pattern, rather than impose laws on them.

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