Last updated: March 8, 2017
Should age discrimination be made illegal in the workplace?
The elderly may be just as capable as the young. Since age is not necessarily an indication of infer...
If a particular elderly worker truly has, say, less concentration or manual strength than a younger worker, and this objectively and reasonably makes him less qualified for the particular job, then employers can still make their decisions based on his relative lack of suitability for the job – not on his age. Age by itself should not be a determinant.
Though not foolproof, age is often an indicator of qualities such as concentration, memory, energy, and so on. These qualities may be important: a fashion designer may justifiably want his salespersons to have a certain level of energy and vitality; it is crucial that air traffic controllers and surgeons have very high levels of fitness and concentration.
Discriminatory practices in recruitment and promotion cause detriment to the economy. Age discrimina...
The belief that the economy has only a limited number of jobs, and if older workers remain in the labour market they will deny job opportunities to younger people, or push down wages, is the well-known ‘lump of labour’ fallacy. Wages are especially unlikely to drop in industries with existing or projected shortages, such as in teaching, and nursing.
Worse, the increased supply of older workers may, at least in the short term, generate market pressures for wages to fall, such that all existing older workers suffer.
Having few older workers also increases the amount the government needs to spend on unemployment and...
Without age discrimination and a mandatory retirement age, employers benefit from lower turnover and...
By contrast, discrimination discourages potentially talented job seekers from applying. Right from the recruitment stage, employers lose by having a smaller pool of workers to draw upon, and by failing to make the most of the existing skills potential of the population.
In fact, without a mandatory retirement age, employers are suddenly obliged to continue paying into people’s pensions much longer than they expected to, and to put up with other significant increases in costs such as higher insurance premiums, more expensive healthcare benefit plans, and so on.
Furthermore, at any firm there are always a limited number of senior jobs. If these are taken up by older workers staying on indefinitely, firms may find it hard to recruit, motivate and retain younger workers looking to replace them, leading to high turnover among younger staff. Firms may also find that with no retirement age they have no idea when people will leave, creating problems of uncertainty in manpower planning and possible bottlenecks.
Ageism is the most prevalent form of discrimination in the workforce today. Legislation can help to ...
By protecting a group in society that is often left out and less advantaged, we are also raising the level of equality in society.
In fact, there is some evidence that employers may be less likely to hire older workers, and younger co-workers may be more resentful, because employers are not allowed to set mandatory retirement ages.