Wisdom before age? Apparently not for the corporate world. The corporate everywhere seem to be possessed with the idea of getting younger. Result is a very apprehensive and insecure middle-aged population. Another outcome is a highly disloyal and employer-hating generation of 40-somethings. Hello, youth and good-bye experience! Age discrimination is here, whether you like it or not. Age Discrimination in the workplace is the unjust denial of promotions and training for new positions on the basis of age. It also includes unfair and unexplained lay-offs and retrenchments of older employees in favour of new younger employees. This discrimination shatters the age-old belief that companies thrive only with a balance of fresh ideas and tried-and-tested beliefs. The corporate today seems disproportionately inclined towards youth. A disproportion, which threatens the foundation of the every organisation. Still the management seems too drunk on its youth-dream to pay heed. However, you can’t sit back. You have to know your rights and fight it out tooth and nail.
How To Deal With Age Discrimination At Workplace?
What Is Age Discrimination In Workplace?
Age discrimination in workplace means to retain old employees and not hire new ones till the older ones drop dead. Although it’s just one side of the story, it is the most over-hyped aspect of this crucial employment discrimination. Age discrimination, in effect, is the practice of excluding applicants for hire or promotion based on the age of the individual. It is an approach that takes the focus away from skills, experience and job competency and shifts the focus on the calendar age of the individual. And in this case, it is generally the 40-somethings that bear the brunt in the West while the 20-somethings bear it in the Asian countries. Whoever suffers, it is clearly an undesirable phenomenon.
Types Of Age Discrimination
Depending upon whether it is the older or the younger generation at the wrong end on the discrimination, age discrimination can be divided into two types:
Old Is Gold
Some of the reasons why organizations prefer experienced people are:
- Older employees have a lot of experience and are generally considered to have seen the best and worst of work.
- They generally have a balanced temper and look problems inside out before taking a decision.
New Is Fresh
Despite the need for experience in every organisation, there has been seen an almost tangible turn of focus from older employees to younger ones. The reasons cited are:
- Younger employees are more flexible and can be easily molded into the company’s culture
- They can work harder and for longer hours.
- They are willing to work for lesser salaries.
- With the advent and sudden upsurge in further education, almost all the freshers are highly qualified and that makes up for the lack of experience.
- They tend to have fresh ideas and a courageous risk-taking aptitude.
- Freshers do not have any perception about work-culture and hence tend to complain less about the general work environment.
What Is Age Harassment?
Companies favouring older employees refrain from hiring too many young employees and cause dissatisfaction among the youth. However, companies favouring youth try desperate and often offensive means to rid themselves off the existing older work force. The means adopted by companies in doing so are collectively called age harassment. It includes:
- No performance bonus
- Threats of dismissal
- Unexplained lay-offs and terminations
- Serial criticism of work
Dealing With Age Discrimination
When faced with this situation, the employees do not have too many reactions to choose from. They either endure in silence or resign. They do so because of a general unawareness about their right and relative acts. They can follow the following to fight back:
- Speak to the seniors and sort out the problem
- If the seniors are causing a problem then talk to HR department about it.
- If even that doesn’t work then you can always resort to asking help from employee unions and other such bodies.
- As a further step, you can move to the court. Countries like US have a specific act pertaining to age discrimination but in countries like India, age discrimination falls under equal opportunities act.
- Do not give up on your fight.
- Lodge an FIR till the fight is going on to safeguard yourself from undesired incidents.
- Collect and maintain copies of all the accolades and appreciation letters or other documents, which prove your worth as a good employee.
- Do not endure in silence. By doing so, you yourself become a party to the crime called age discrimination.