Ageism is Running Rampant in the Workplace
Ageism is perhaps the last “ism” or form of racism and prejudice in the workplace today. Prejudice against people from other countries and even women in the workplace in North America has been wiped out to an extent. Even though a glass ceiling and problem with wage equality still exists for woman, there’s another inequality that still exists. A prejudice against workers who are as young as 40 is running rampant in North American workplaces. Age discrimination is rampant in Canada and the United States according to business expert and writer Michelle V. Rafter.
Legislation does exist to combat ageism in the workplace, but proving it can be another matter altogether. Proving it is usually up to one individual, the victim of ageism, to fight a large corporation which has endless resources. Losing your job in the United States and Canada after the age of 40 is almost a guarantee that you will never be able to find another meaningful job of greater or equal pay. It shouldn’t be this way.
For the individual who is a victim of age discrimination, it can be a degrading, demoralizing and devastating experience. The cost of discrimination in any case can be extensive, not only for the individuals experiencing it but also for society and the economy. Because of the financial disaster -that was created by the banks and continues even to the date of writing, people no longer have the financial resources to retire at 55 or 60 or 65 years of age. Many people do not have the financial resources to retire and are working until 70 or even 80 years old if they even have a job. They have no choice, especially when the stats for both Canadians and Americans show that 33% of the population in both countries does not have $25,000 saved for retirement.
Does ageism exist? Of course it does. One has to look at any number of company’s websites, view their “staff” webpage and one can see that employees under the age of 35 make up the entire company roster. What to do about companies that no longer represent the cross-section of the society it profits from? Probably one of the best thing that can be done is workers and people who have experienced age discrimination voice their discontent against the product in the realm of social media. Social media is where companies nowadays listen to their clients about the products and services they offer. This is a great place to start.
Boomers and seniors should organize because in numbers, there is strength. Another thing that can be done is that people affected by age discrimination should boycott companies and products that practice age discrimination. Let it be known that the company is being boycotted for this reason.
Corporations need to realize that age discrimination is illegal and that all employees, no matter what their age, have value to bring to the table. Youth does not necessarily guarantee innovative thinking and “energy.” Young workers also have to consider a very real fact: supporting older people who are unable to find work is going to be a huge tax burden on society in the future. Another thing young workers have to consider is, they too, one day will be over 40. The time is now to end age discrimination in the workplace. Ageism affects everybody.