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Age Discrimination

In: Social Issues

Submitted By luli88
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Age Discrimination 1

Running Head: Age Discrimination in the Work Place

Final Ethics Paper

Submitted To: Professor Peru
May 28th, 2010

GEB 452 – Organizational Ethics
Age Discrimination 2

Abstract

In today’s society, many companies are looking for that “Pop”. What I mean by “Pop” is having a fresher, younger mind/ body do the job. Many of the older employees that have been on the job for such a long period of time, are now endangered of losing their positions to that “Pop” that those companies are looking for. Why are they endangered? Because of the fact of many reasons such as, (physical labor, presentation, & not being technical savvy). In this paper I will talk about many different scenarios and the pros and cons of Age Discrimination in the Workplace.

Age Discrimination 3
What Is Age Discrimination in the Workplace? Age discrimination in the workplace is the unjust denial of promotions and training for new positions on the basis of age. It also includes unfairly targeting older workers for layoffs or denying older workers benefits such as health care coverage that are provided for younger workers. Although there have been laws against age discrimination on the books since the 1960s, age discrimination is a persistent problem in many workplaces. In fact, according to a survey recently conducted by worldwide placement agency Adecco, age discrimination in the workplace was the most often named form of discrimination by employees. Especially during times of economic downturn, being subjected to discriminatory practices in the workplace can make hard times even more difficult. Age discrimination in the workplace can be blatant or subtle. Overt age discrimination includes disparaging statements against older workers, such as calling them "over the hill" or "ancient." Other blatant forms of age discrimination include firing older workers because they "make too much money" or "cost too much" for health insurance premiums. More subtle forms of age discrimination include telling older workers that they are not "flexible" about accepting assignments or favoring younger employees for promotions and desirable positions because the company "needs new blood."
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 was passed by Congress and signed into law by then-President Lyndon Johnson. The act prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees age 40 or older. The law prohibits such practices in the workplace as arbitrary age limits for jobs, disparity in layoffs that disproportionately affect older workers, refusal to train older workers for new positions or to use new technology and discrimination in granting benefits to older workers.
Age Discrimination 4 Being an elderly employee has its pros and cons. For example, in a negative perception, older workers are slower and less adaptable to change. In the age of the internet, if you don’t know how to write html code, or work your way around a Power point or Excel spreadsheet, you might as well be a dinosaur. They are less loyal to the job due to family. Families result in more vacation time and sick days, and less desire to work weekends and put in the extra effort. They are less malleable for a mentor to mold. Instilling work culture is more difficult, and therefore older workers will have a harder time fitting in. They are more expensive and therefore squeeze margins more intensely during downturns. Due to the lack of flexibility in pay, there is less maneuverability. And they are uncomfortable working for someone younger than them. Younger managers feel their discomfort and therefore naturally tend to shy away.
On the other hand in a positive perception, older workers are more knowledgeable and experienced where no amount of smarts can match. They are much more patient and mature. They bring different insights to solve difficult problems. They are more dedicated to their jobs because they are not just providing for themselves, but for their own family and perhaps even their parents. They have more savings and therefore are more flexible to take pay cuts during downturns. Older employees work well with younger co-workers because there is a natural tendency for older people to help mentor younger workers even if they are more senior.
If you let yourself feel discriminated against due to age, it’s your fault for letting it get to you. We start blaming exogenous variables that should have very little to do with whether we succeed or fail. Yes, if you are working at a company where the average age is 30 and you’re 50, maybe you will feel the young guns are out to get you. Or rather, since you’re the minority,
Age Discrimination 5 you’ll feel special due to your valuable insights. It’s really what you make of the situation. You can argue either way whether older workers are better or worse employees. It doesn’t really matter because you’ll never convince the world conclusively that you are right. One can always find the positives and negatives in any type of person because our perceptions are all different. We just need to focus on what we can control, which is our attitude, presentation, and work skills. Believe it, or not, job seekers are reporting age discrimination beginning as early as the mid-thirties. By the time you reach your forties, you can be considered washed up in some industries. There are strategies you can use to help mitigate discrimination issues. Joyce Lain Kennedy's Resumes for Dummies provides resume writing tips for older workers: On your resume limit your experience to 15 years for a managerial job, 10 years for a technical job, and 5 years for a high-tech job. Leave your other experience off your resume or list it without dates in an Other Experience category. Consider using a functional resume rather than a chronological resume. Being a certain age brings many issues when it comes to the salary that is going to be given to you. According to jobsearch.com, you have to Let potential employers know that you are flexible. Even though you may have earned six figures in the past, perhaps you no longer need to or you would be willing to accept a lower salary to get your foot in the door. And if that's the case, mention in your cover letters, when salary requirements are asked for, that yours are flexible or negotiable, based upon the position and the entire compensation package, including benefits.

Age Discrimination 6
Many people ask, what are valid reasons for an employer to fire an older worker? Well under the ADEA, there has to be a valid reason -- not related to age -- for all employment decisions. Examples of valid reasons would be poor job performance by the employee or an employer's economic trouble. In the case of layoffs, a company cannot use age as the basis for determining who is laid off and who is kept on. If most people who are laid off are 40 or older, and the majority of workers kept on are younger, there may be a basis for an ADEA complaint or lawsuit, especially if the employer has hired younger workers to take the places of workers over 40. These are real scenarios that can be associated with older workers. As you may already have figured out, there are people of ALL ages that may also reflect many of these concerns. Younger people often get stuck with “fads” and believe their way is the only way. They can also have health concerns, low energy levels and can be slow to learn concepts that are outside of their experience. They also may only stay with an employer a brief time to get the training they need, just to move on to something bigger or better in a very short time. If these aren’t issues you have, then it is pragmatic to look at other reasons why you may not be achieving your employment goals. The key issue is not necessarily age, but attitude and circumstance. It is important to focus on the things you are doing that you CAN change to ensure you achieve your goals. However, if any of the attitudinal issues could be associated with you, then think about why, and make some changes. It is important to be honest about your mind, body and spirit when pursuing anything. Be realistic about what you can do, want to do and need to do first, then find the balance for yourself. The more you identify those elements and set realistic timeframes to accomplish it, the more likely you will be to achieve rewarding goals.
Age Discrimination 7
In conclusion, Age discrimination is a major human resources issue in the modern workplace. Just like gender or race discrimination, it cripples the perceived performance of certain groups, and does this based on an uncontrollable factor--age. Every worker must be given the same performance-based treatment so as to avoid breaking legal and ethical guidelines. Young people in the workforce are commonly seen as less competent and naive. Though they (usually) do not have as much experience as veteran workers, this is not always the case. Employee payroll should be based solely on performance and expertise, and not on age.
Elderly workers are sometimes seen as no longer "viable" and less efficient. The elderly are actually the veterans of the workforce. They generally have more crystallized intelligence in their field than younger populations. Older workers should not be removed from their positions unless there is a legitimate reason (such as poor job performance.). An older worker can take legal action if he is replaced by a younger worker for age-based reasons. There are several laws protecting age-based workers' rights, especially for the elderly (see References). For example, if a company fires an elderly worker to avoid paying pension, it is illegal under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. Workers who have faced age discrimination abuse from an employer may be entitled to compensation. For example, an elderly man fired for his age might be entitled to back pay and reinstatement.
To avoid age discrimination, organizations can take several proactive steps. For example, it is now common practice for job applications to exclude a date of birth field. Companies should hire based upon budget needs and worker qualifications, not age. In addition, mentoring is a great way to reduce age discrimination. Facilitating communication between age groups helps to defeat prejudice.
Age Discrimination 8
References
* www.forbes.com * What is affecting elderly workers when it comes to age discrimination? * www.jobsearch.com/agediscrimination * Resume tips for elderly applicants. * www.workplacefairness.com * Age ethics in work place. * www.civilrightslawfirms.com * What an employer can and can’t do. * www.discriminationattorney.com * Scenarios * www.yahoo.com * Pros and Cons of age discrimination * www.google.com * Age Discrimination Laws

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