Work environments are rife with all types of prejudice, including discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex, and religion. The distribution of unfair wages, specifically based upon the sex or race of an employee, is often at the center of intense political and social debate. Like most forms of workplace discrimination, the frequent occurrence of age discrimination in the workplace often remains unaddressed.
One of the most common places in which age discrimination occurs is within the workplace. Employers are often guilty of refusing employees raises or promotions based upon their age. Many companies refuse to hire elders completely. Age discrimination can be directed at teenagers and young adults; however, it is most commonly targeted at elderly individuals. Regardless of the fact that legislation prohibits the practice of age discrimination, it is still a frequent problem in the United States.
Issues with Wages There are many different variables that affect an individual’s income. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether or not elderly individuals experience wage discrimination. Indeed, statistics indicate that on average, young employees obtain smaller incomes than elderly individuals. However, income varies a great deal based on an employee’s work experience and education.
A young college graduate may be given a much larger income than an elderly individual that did not go to college, but has many years of experience in his/her field. Despite the uncertainty surrounding wage variation, it is true that elderly individuals are much more likely to be laid off from their jobs, often because they are receiving a large income due to many years of faithful service to a company. In order to decease company spending, a corporation will often cut elderly employees with the largest incomes.
Issues with Employment and Promotions
Forced Early Retirement
Retirement is often a welcomed relief for individuals who have spent their entire lives working. However, there are instances in which an elderly individual can be forced to retire earlier than he/she had planned. The condition of the economy has caused many corporations to move operations to underdeveloped countries, provoking companies to offer elderly employees early retirement incentives. However, if an individual retires early, he/she may experience adverse financial consequences. Early retirement may cause an individual to face sizable penalty fees; if an elderly individual begins utilizing his/her
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Age discrimination is a widespread problem in the United States. Elderly individuals experience discrimination in many different areas of life. One of the most common places that elderly individuals experience ageism is in the workplace. Employers discriminate against elders for a wide variety of reasons. In order to combat age discrimination in the workplace, the federal government instated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
This legislation prohibits employers from discriminating against elderly individuals at any point of the employment process based solely on age. This includes when an employer is advertising employment opportunities, when an elderly individual applies for a job, or when an elder is actually employed in a position. In clear terms, under the ADEA, an employer cannot refuse to hire an individual, fire an employee, or lay an individual off based upon his/her age.
Role of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was established in order to protect elderly individuals from being subjected to discrimination by employers. However, without an organization or an agency to enforce discrimination laws, these laws would lack purpose. Individuals and corporations would have the ability to continue engaging in discriminatory practices without being punished for their behavior. In order to address this, the federal government established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC possesses the authority to investigate complaints of employment discrimination. This may include discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sex, religion, and age. One of the most common types of discrimination investigated by the EEOC is age discrimination. If this agency finds that an employer is responsible for age discrimination, it has the power to file a lawsuit against the employer. In most cases, though, the EEOC will attempt to settle an offense outside of court.