Discrimination refers treating someone in a different way from others based on certain attributes. These attributes include age, gender, sex, skin colour, religion, or ethnicity. Discrimination exists all over the world and in most cases leads to exclusion of individuals based on irrational decisions. Discrimination is not fair as it makes valuable people miss opportunities and privileges which they would have otherwise obtained. There are various forms of discrimination which include caste discrimination, employment discrimination, age discrimination, religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, language discrimination, and ethnic discrimination. This paper seeks to discuss about age discrimination in employment and measures which can be taken to reduce age discrimination in the workforce.
Age discrimination which is also referred to as ageism refers discriminating individuals or groups of people based on their age. Age discrimination affects various groups of individuals ranging from children, adolescents, youth, to old people. Age discrimination in employment affects mostly older people. This is because most employers believe that older people do not contribute positively towards a firm`s profit. Nevertheless, even young employees are discriminated against in some instances. Discrimination against young employees in workplaces often leads to lower wages. Paying lower wages to young employees is common and justified in some countries such as United States and United Kingdom. Therefore, older employees get higher wages than their younger counterparts. Nevertheless, older employees face age discrimination in relation to recruitment and promotions. Further, whenever firms want to cut costs through retrenchment, older employees suffer most. This is because older employees are perceived to be less productive and efficient. As such, in cases of retrenchment, age plays a significant decision factor, and adversely affects older employees. Age discrimination in employment also affects young people. Young people who are below 18 years old are adversely affected in the lob market. Employers also view young people as less productive. This is because they lack adequate experience required for certain positions. There are some employers who ask for experience of many years in a particular field. This leads to discrimination since most young people lack adequate experience due to the short duration they have been in the job market.
Older employees experience different forms of discrimination. Firstly, older employees are rarely promoted in numerous firms. This is due to perceived beliefs that older employees are less productive. This is extremely unfair since older employees have adequate experience. Therefore, older employees have adequate knowledge and skills which they can use to enhance productivity. Secondly, older employees are discriminated against in the workforce as employees are always reluctant to hire them. Nowadays, most employees put a limit on age as they carry out recruitment. This bars employees who lack the age requirement to miss employment opportunities. In many cases, the worst affected are older workers. This is because older workers end up unemployed. This makes them experience economic, social, and psychological problems. Thirdly, older workers experience age discrimination in cases of retrenchment. Whenever a firm faces financial distress, one of the solutions is to retrench employees. However, employees are always biased since they target older workers.
Discrimination on the basis of age should be reduced since it not only affects the discriminated individual, but may also lead to recruitment of unqualified workers. There are different ways through which discrimination in workplaces can be reduced. Firstly, discrimination in the workforce can be reduced by introducing laws that protect all people. Laws should be designed in such a way that people are given an equal chance. This should be irrespective of their ages or any other unique attribute. In addition, heavy punishments should be accorded to employers who discriminate workers based on age. Lastly, employers should be educated on the negative effects of discrimination. They should be learn to appreciate all persons and hire people based on professional qualifications and not age.
Sargeant, Malcolm . Age Discrimination in Employment. Illustrated. Farnham: Gower Publishing, Ltd, 2007.
Age Discrimination: Ageism in Employment and Service Provision. Illustrated. Farnham: Gower Publishing, Ltd, 2011.