Age discrimination and employment often occur simultaneously. Individuals over the age of forty are often subjected to age discrimination at work. The older an employee becomes, the more likely he/she is to experience discrimination. Age discrimination at work may occur in various areas of business, including in hiring, promotions, advertising, wages, and layoffs. Age discrimination and employment are often the subjects of extensive controversy.
One common type of age discrimination at work occurs when employees are denied promotions based upon their age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act expressly forbids this. Nevertheless, many companies overlook older, more qualified employees in favor of younger, less experienced individuals. All told, there are numerous reasons why a company may refuse to promote an elderly employee.
Age discrimination and employment often reflect a company’s desire to employ individuals that will remain at the company for many years. A corporation may fear that an elderly individual will soon opt for retirement, and will therefore not grant him/her a promotion. A company may also feel that a younger individual will be more productive, will complete his/her work quicker, and will be more reliable.
There are some complications that elderly individuals often face during employment, and this may be a contributing factor to age discrimination at work. Elderly individuals are more likely to contract more severe illnesses and more serious diseases than younger employees. Therefore, an elderly employee can be more apt to call in sick and utilize sick days.
He/she may also require extended periods of rest to recover from illness, and therefore, he/she may be out of work for a longer time. This may only amplify the connection between age discrimination and employment. In addition, depending on the task, younger employees tend to work more quickly than older individuals. This is not to say that an elderly employee exerts less effort, as the same task may be equally as laborious for the younger individual, but the realities of the situation remain. Moreover, age discrimination at work often results from the stereotype that depicts elderly individuals as frail and weak.
Many elderly employees in good physical shape, though, are capable of carrying out difficult and arduous physical work. While an elderly individual may not be able to lift the same amount of weight as a younger employee, he/she is certainly capable of completing most chores. Despite this, many employers feel that an elderly individual’s physical condition may result in serious injuries, and that they may be held liable in that even.
Thus, again, despite the legislation prohibiting age discrimination and employment prejudice, many employers continue to refuse employment and promotions to elderly individuals.