According to Young (2008), workplace discrimination refers to unequal treatment of workers or potential employees who have the same performance capabilities, skills and qualifications based on various factors such as ethnicity, skin color, citizenship and gender among others. Workplace discrimination involves denying individuals certain opportunities during employee recruitments, promotions, payment of wages and salaries or maltreatments at the workplace. Workplace discriminations can be directly or indirectly focused towards a particular individual or group of individuals. Workplace discrimination, also known as employment discrimination, may take various forms such as gender discrimination, age discrimination, racial discrimination, language discrimination, religion discrimination, disability discrimination and discrimination, based on sexual orientation among others. This presentation will focus mainly on age discrimination towards old workers.
Many employees aged forty years and above have received various types of discriminations at the workplace. Some employees have also reported age discriminations as early as thirty five years in certain industries. Discrimination at the workplace occurs, when an employee or a group of employees are maltreated or mistreated based on various reasons such as gender, race, ethnicity, religious and traditional beliefs and practices as well as physical disability (Lazear, 2011).
This presentation will examine the various effects that workplace discrimination has on workers aged forty years and above. It also gives various recommendations on how workplace discrimination against old workers may be reduced. At the end is a brief conclusion of the presentation.
Age Discrimination.Age discrimination refers to the process of denying a person or group of persons various privileges, entailed to them, or any act of maltreated directed towards a person or person on the basis of their ages.Labor researchers have found out that age discrimination is still prevalent at the workplace, despite the enacted of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by the U.S. Congress in 1963 (Neumark, 2011). In the recent past, an unbelievable increase in number of old workers who report cases of discriminations at their workplaces have rapidly increased. This is a clear indication that the practice is still ubiquitous and rampant in most organizations.
Causes of Age Discrimination at the Workplace.Various employees who are old have received workplace discriminations due to a variety of factors. Some of these factors include assumptions such as inability of old workers to perform in a proper way and demand for huge payments. Moreover, certain aged employees have also been discriminated due the employers’ presumption that old employees are expensive. Most employers assume that aged employees require high salary packages, increased fringe benefits such as medical covers, increased payments to pension schemes as well as frequent sick-offs. This has result into additional expenses to the employer. However, such additional premiums or benefits those old workers get are based on their experience.
Many employers also discriminate their old workers based on age in pretence that old workers have poor performance. However, Hutchens (2010) argues that recent research studies have revealed that there is no direct relationship between performance at the workplace and ages of the workers.
Effects of Discrimination of Old Workers.In my opinion, discrimination at the workplace is harmful and has both direct and indirect effects on the employees who experience it as well as other people in the society, for instance, their family members and relatives. First and foremost, old employees who get discriminated, based on their age, often get demoralized and discouraged to work harder at the workplace. They usually lack the intrinsic motivational power to go to work. This usually results into low performance and reduced productivity.
Secondly, workplace discrimination on old workers usually results into reduced job satisfaction amongst old employees. Old employees who get discriminated at their workplaces usually have negative thoughts and attitudes towards their employers. They also usually develop negatives emotions towards the organization and fellow workmates. This often results into reduced job satisfaction and unhappiness of employees. Consequently, such workers who get discriminated often perform poorly and become less productive at the workplace. Gregory (2009) argues that workplace discrimination often results in decline in the efficiency of the workers.
Thirdly, old workers who experience discriminations at the workplace usually develop health complications and other illnesses that result from stress. Thus, they become less healthy workers. Such workers usually become stressed, develop anxiety and sleeplessness. In some cases, old workers who receive job-related discriminations may develop high blood pressures or heart attacks. This further complicates their health and physical wellbeing. In extreme cases of workplace discrimination, old workers have been committing suicides.
Fourthly, discrimination of old workers also affects their interpersonal skill such as communication and teamwork skills. Old workers who are discriminated at the workplace usually suffer from depression and loneliness. They often develop a sense of isolation and may withdraw themselves form social groups or settings. Work-related stress and depression usually results into development of poor lifestyles such as loss of interest in social activities, reduced participation in recreational activities and poor balance of family life and responsibilities at the workplace.
Fifthly, discrimination of old workers at the workplace may also lead to loss of self-confidence and low self-esteem amongst the workers. This consequently leads to reduced output and poor performance at the workplace. Moreover, workplace discriminations also result into poor concentration of old workers. Their abilities to make sound decisions and precise judgments may also be impaired.
A research study, carried out in 2011 by Canas and Sondak, on reaction of old workers after being discriminated found out that most old workers who get discriminated at the workplace usually develop repulsive and disruptive behaviors both at the work place and back at their families. Workers will often feel strong resentment and may revenge back to the people or organization who exercised discrimination towards them through irresponsible behaviors such as destruction of personal or organizational properties. For example, the workers may become more violent, heavy drinkers and use abusive languages. Such undesirable behaviors that develop after receiving workplace discriminations usually occur as a result of stress that develops from discrimination.
Napoli (2007) classifies the effects of age discrimination of worker into three broad categories, namely, physical effects, emotional effects and social effects. Physical effects include lack of energy to carry out duties, reduction in weight and sleeplessness. Emotional effects may include low self-confidence amongst workers, poor mental health due to depression and distress, increased feelings of job insecurity and lack of self-esteem. Finally, social effects include lack of interest in social activities and in the job, social withdrawals and poor interpersonal relationships.
Moreover, most old employees who have been discriminated often file court suits and complaints in order to get help and justice from the court systems. This results into additional expenses to the people who might be already laid off from their employments.
When business firms fire and dismiss old workers before their retirement age, the workers usually lose their sources of income due unemployment. This reduces their ability to acquire or purchase the basic needs of life such as food, shelter and clothing. Similarly, when old workers are discriminated against fringe benefits such as health insurance or medical covers, their health may highly deteriorate due to inability to have adequate access to high quality healthcare services.
According to Dipboye (2010), workers who are discriminated against employment benefits such as retirement pensions usually have fewer resources like funds to use after retirement. Consequently, their lives often become more difficult after termination of employment or retirement. Discrimination of workers, based on their age, may involve violation of certain rights of the workers. For example, employers may not provide conducive working conditions for old workers such as provision of safety clothing and measures. This may put their lives at more risks since they may frequently get involved in accidents and get physical injuries at the workplace.
Furthermore, age discrimination often overlooks the skills, knowledge and experience in addition to other special talents that old workers possess. In my opinion, discriminating them is a sing of disrespect to such abilities and, hence, they become traumatized. Some employees also assume that old workers may not be interested in further trainings and career developments.
This denies old employees chances to acquire more skills and knowledge that would be beneficial in their future careers. Old workers are, thus, not able to learn new skills such as use of modern technologies at the workplaces.
Last but not least, Friedman (2011) postulates that workplace discrimination on old workers usually results into reduced commitment of the workers to the organization. Such employees often become less loyal to the employers and, thus, develop poor relationships with the employers.
In conclusion, I would argue that employers should pay employees based on their hand-on experience other than on age. Based on their vast experiences, old workers have the highest number of skills and knowledge that would enable them to perform much better than younger workers. They have better interpersonal skill such as social, communication and listening, high problem solving abilities and ability to make wise decisions. In my opinion, management of old workers may not be as difficult as most employers presume. It only requires appropriate approaches that would show adequate respect to their expertise and professionalism. They should also be engaged in activities that interest them.
In addition, the government should fully implement the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and make appropriate amendments to the Act to ensure that old employees are protected from discriminations by employers. The federal government should also ensure that all the provisions and requirements in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act are fully observed and adhered to by all employers. The government should ensure that employers do not violate the rights of old employees merely because of their age.
Lastly, I would urge employers to recruit all employees on the basis of their ability to carry out assigned duties, rather than on the basis of their ages. All organization should also adopt anti-discrimination policies that advocate for equal treatment of workers regardless of their ages.