Every workplace contains people of different personalities, ages, and abilities. The variety of people in an organization helps to portray its diversity and can be part of the strategy to attract different customers. Despite the difference in most workplaces, one of the prevalent problems is age discrimination. Age discrimination happens when individuals are denied employment opportunities, dismissed from work, denied benefits such as training and promotion, and are underpaid because of their age. Age discrimination in the workplace can either be legal or illegal. Legal discrimination happens when the government sets an age limit for employment in different industries (DiGiacomo, 16). For example, several countries are against the employment of children under 16 years old or who are in the school-going age as a way to ensure they secure education. Illegal discrimination is not founded on any regulations and is the most common in the workplace. Age discrimination in the workplace affects both the young and the elderly, is based on perceptions, and can be eliminated through law and discouraging negative attitudes.
Age discrimination affects both older and younger employees. Discrimination against younger employees is founded on their experience and qualifications, which influences their marketable skills. Most young people who are still in school or who dropped out of school are unlikely to have the same experience as people who have worked in organizations for several years. Such makes it easy to discriminate against them for their age and deny them opportunities that would help them learn the necessary skills. They are discriminated against in recruitment, selection, remuneration, and training. Most organizations advertise the minimum age required for recruitment to employment positions. It makes it impossible for people who do not fall within the set limit to apply for jobs. For example, an organization may advertise that it needs employees with a mature personality, and this is likely to lock out younger employees who feel immature. It makes them feel inferior to older and experienced employees.
The discrimination against older people is centered on misconceptions. The common misconceptions against more former employees are that they are more susceptible to health problems and are difficult to retain. Most employers seek employees they can maintain because it helps in lowering the operational costs involved in frequently hiring new employees. Health problems are also a significant concern because as people grow older, they are likely to be susceptible to lifestyle diseases and a weakening immune system. Employees who are sick often have low productivity as they need more time to attend to their health problems, and this can interfere with the ability of an organization to realize its goals. Other misconceptions for discrimination against the elderly are because they have limited job flexibility, are less educated, and also lack technological skills. Job flexibility is becoming an essential part of organizations because it presents the ease of reorganizing schedules and work to realize organizational goals. Technology is also changing the way organizations work and making it easier to interact with others frequently and more effectively. Older employees can be difficult to train and retrain, especially during rapid technological changes. Therefore, organizations discriminate against them in favor of young employees who are adept in technology and can use it to help in realizing the goals of the organization.
Age discrimination in the workplace has physical, psychological, and economic effects. The employees discriminated against are likely to suffer from distress that negatively affects their physical and mental health, attitude, and job-related outcomes (Colella & King, 2018). The effect on mental health will lead to a loss of concentration at work and this lowers the productivity of the organization. Some of the physical effects of discrimination include headaches, poor sleeping patterns, fatigue, chest pains, and high blood pressure (Colella & King, 18). It makes employees feel like they are continuously watched, leading to anxiety in everything they do. It eliminates the joy of employment, and the negative attitude also interferes with their social interaction with other employees. Psychological stress leads to the loss of self-confidence, depression, and diminishing self-esteem (Colella & King, 18). Employees with poor self-esteem do not feel motivated to work. They always feel like they are making mistakes, and the lack of confidence can prevent the organization from meeting its objectives. It prevents employees from exploiting their full potential and finding more innovative ways to solve problems in the workplace. The economic effects of discrimination in the workplace include loss of revenue from a lack of realizing targets. It also reduces the productive hours as employees either take days off to deal with the health and personal problems or fail to meet their targets.
There are different ways of ending age discrimination at work, and they require collaboration with employers and international or national laws. Age discrimination laws vary from one country to another. The international treaties can aid in aligning employment laws to prevent age discrimination (DiGiacomo, 75). Countries can also develop policies that prevent age discrimination in the workplace and subject those who violate them to heavy fines. Employers also need to understand and eliminate the misconceptions that exist against older employees. Chronological age does not influence job performance. They need to judge employees based on their ability to complete tasks irrespective of their age successfully.
Age discrimination in the workplace is prevalent and affects people of all ages. The effects can be detrimental to the organization and well-being of the victims too. Such makes it essential to have regulations that help to eradicate age discrimination. Countries can develop policies that criminalize age discrimination. Similarly, organizations should create cultures that eliminate stereotypes and provide favorable working conditions for all employees.
Colella, A., & King, E. "The Oxford handbook of workplace discrimination." New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 2018. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=p_pADwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=The+Oxford+handbook+of+workplace+discrimination.%E2%80%9D+New+York,+NY:+Oxford+University+Press&ots=Hw4nWEyJk1&sig=9fHu4ZShx54BAv6fXGJLDe0byVY&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
DiGiacomo, G. "Human rights: Current issues and controversies." Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 2016. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books/about/Human_Rights.html?id=BcGKCwAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y
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