Essay on Age Discrimination

Submitted By Dillons
Words: 1633
Pages: 7

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) was a law that was passed by Congress in December of 1967 to protect workers and job applicants who are 40 years of age or older against employment discrimination. There are many forms of employment discrimination, but this law protects against age discrimination. Is this truly a law that holds up in the work force today? When I sit and ponder what age discrimination means, I am left with a visual of a person with salt and pepper hair and wrinkles all over their face. What I visualize is an old person not being hired for a job they are more than qualified for. With the employment opportunities being offered today, the reality is that there are many people being passed up for jobs because they are too old. Experience does not seem to matter today like it has in the past. Instead, employers are overlooking their experience and making a decision that they are too old to perform the work that is available. According to an article written by Ballman (2011), “older people seem to have been disproportionately targeted in layoffs, and they have a much harder time finding new jobs” (para. 1). These are normal people who range in age from 40 years of age and older. In years past, a person could take their years of experience with them and find a job very simply. However with the downward spiral of the economy in recent years, many of those workers who were supposed to be protected are in fact being discriminated against. As with any new law being passed, there are sometimes exceptions to the laws that still do not help those that are trying to find work. One of the exceptions to The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 allows an employer to use age as a criteria if they can justify its use; meaning they have to prove that the age is an occupational qualification to successfully do the job. According to Lamber (n.d.) “the courts have interpreted this as a very narrow exception to the general prohibition of age discrimination contained in the ADEA” (para. 5). Another exception pertains to employee benefit plans with regard to health insurance and pension plans. Providing a benefit to an older employee could cost the employer more money for an older worker verses a younger worker, since a younger worker has the stereotype of being a healthier individual. The final exception is with regard to mandatory retirement at age 65 for executives or other employees in high, policy making positions. In some professions there can also be maximum age requirements for retirement of publicly employed firefighters and law enforcement officers at age 55. In order for The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 to be valid in a place of employment, the business must have a minimum of 20 employees. The Business Dictionary (2012) defines age discrimination as an “unfair treatment in recruitment, promotions, or granting of privileges on the basis of the age of the recipient.” Other terms or conditions of employment include hiring or firing, training, pay scales, benefits, work assignments and layoff. I believe this law is fair and does work; however in recent years with the American economy plummeting, it is more violated today because employers can take younger workers and pay them less rather than hire a worker that has 10 to 20 years of experience and also requiring more pay for the same position. Younger workers do not see this because they are used to being able to find a job much quicker than a displaced worker age 40 and up. I also believe it is violated in a subtle manner in an effort to weed out “older” people looking for work or a promotion. My Uncle has experienced a similar situation like this for the last four years. At the age of 57, he was let go from a job that he was at for 23 years. He had a lot of experience and was in an upper level management position making approximately $20,000 more per year than his boss, who