Ageism and Age Discrimination - Blog | Ultius
Ageism may be more commonplace in economic and political literature where demographic shifts in the population are characterized as portending a future health crisis or “age wars” with young and old fighting over their share of social and health services. Ageism and age discrimination are based on social fears, and social response expresses those fears.
Ageism and age discrimination are often harder to address than other forms of discrimination as older adults’ needs easily become subsumed to the needs of other age groups, or to the administrative needs for efficiency or cost cutting. Given pressure for scarce resources and given similar need, the fact that one is older often becomes the justification for not receiving a benefit or service or not be treated as a sufficiently high priority. In any cost-benefit analysis based on remaining years or future productivity, older adults are always at a disadvantage.
Finally, it is important to remember that the experience of ageism and age discrimination may differ based on other components of a person’s identity. For example, certain groups of older persons may experience unique barriers because of their age combined with their gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnicity, religion, culture and language.As mentioned earlier, while both ‘ageism’ and ‘age discrimination’ can apply to people of any age, this paper will only look at the concepts of ageism and age discrimination to the extent that they apply to mature age workers.The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants who are 40 years of age or older on the basis of their age. The ADEA prohibits discrimination in all phases of the employment except benefits and early retirement. The aspects of the employment relationship that the ADEA governs include: help-wanted ads, interviewing, hiring, compensation, promotion, discipline, job evaluations, demotion, training, job assignments and termination. If an employer engages in age discrimination retaliation against an employee for requesting a disability accommodation or reporting illegal age discrimination acts to the appropriate authorities that employer has violated that employee’s civil rights.According to a 2006 Recruitment Confidence Index study conducted by the Cranfield School of Management, "Around two thirds of the organisations surveyed have an age policy in place and most have introduced a ban on age factors in recruitment, promotion and training. A relatively small proportion however have a dedicated resource or task group for age related issues and only around half of organizations train their managers on age discrimination." (p.30)