The main function of the culture is to regulate human behavior and make it predictable. In contrast, discrimination is the most hidden aspect of human culture. The federal government has developed a number of regulatory policies in order to curb the vice, but it still happens in the country. The American population is aging and there is pressure on all sectors of the economy to meet the rising economic demands. However, many workers face numerous discriminatory challenges trying to enter into the job market or in maintaining their employment. Age may be just a number, as many would say; however, it is an important aspect to an employer. The problem of age discrimination is everywhere and affects the adult workers as well as youthful graduates who are seeking for employment after their college education.
Ageism among the Young Adults
Many researchers have alluded that the problem of age discrimination has both individual and institutional perspective (Buccigrossi & Robinson, 2003). The institutional perspectives of ageism include the use of upper age limits in the determination of participation, segregation where younger people are not afforded a chance for employment due to their inexperience and inadequate provisions where the younger generations are termed as costly to hire since they may need retraining in order to fit into their jobs. These institutions, point to the fact that the older workers have the necessary on-job training and experience. Such institutions would be unwilling to shoulder the added cost of training the entrant in the job market. Furthermore, the new job entrants have superior skills and such companies must match those skills with appropriate pay package.
Although the youthfulness and their contributions are highly prized, young workers are victims of stereotypes of immaturity and inexperience (Buccigrossi & Robinson, 2003). The aspect of age discrimination of youth in their workplace is a common phenomena and it is uncommon to find youthful job entrant restricted to jobs with low responsibility as a way of proving their worth to their supervisors and managers. This happens despite the fact that the young people bring enthusiasm and superior experience compared to the workforce who are already in employment. Furthermore, the employment act that came into force in 1967, protects the older workers against discrimination and it provided an opportunity to the employer to offer preferential treatment to the older workers at the disadvantage of the younger workers, (Freeman, 2013).
In their study regarding the perception of the various age groups (Wood, n.d), found that both the old and young entrants in the job market, were aware that they were discriminated against other age cohorts. Although many research has centered on the older age discrimination, most young entrant face discrimination amongst the companies that employ the redundancy system of last in, first out (LIFO) as evidence in postwar age. Age discrimination can have far-reaching economic and psychological well-being of the job market entrants. The problem has an implication of denying the young population economic independence. This has a resulting impact of increasing dependency ratios on the working population, as well as an increase in the unemployment rates. However, some studies point that age discrimination among the older population has far more implications than entrant discrimination.
According to (Sergeant, 2013), many stereotypical assumptions exist among different age groups regarding age discrimination. He further asserts that every stereotypical assumption regarding older workers is equally applicable to younger job market entrants. For instance if an employer points that an older employee is more reliable, it means that the younger people are unreliable. The study further points to the survey done in 1990s among 500 companies, where there was a general perception among the employers that 36 percent of the older employees were more cautious, 40% who thought that the older workers could not adapt to new technology and 38% thought they disliked taking orders from younger job market entrants. These statistics are a good pointer that the stereotypical attributes among the older workers remain deeply rooted in the job market.
Furthermore, there is a greater believe among employers that older workers are more committed, reliable and less likely to leave, as compared to younger workers. These assumptions have exasperated the younger entrants and have worsened age discrimination among the young adults in the country. Many young entrants face numerous challenges and frustrations making numerous job applications for positions for which they are deemed too young to perform as the older employees. Most of these young entrants face disillusionment in addition to psychological torture when their applications are turned down. (Snowdown, 2012) points that although many companies have solid diversity frameworks, many people above the age of 40 were viewed as having higher status within the companies. Similarly, those workers who had an age of voer 70 years were given a higher status than those in their 20s.
Numerous researches done on the field of age discrimination among the young job entrant reveals an appalling problem. According to (Williams, 2009), the problem is evident among the workers in the healthcare system in the country. In the healthcare sector, ageism is spread from the patients to the junior entrants. Most of the new entrants in the healthcare sector face stereotypical referencing due to their relatively little experience as their inability to handle healthcare issues compared to older healthcare employees in the sector. Although health is a very sensitive issue, the young entrants need to be accorded an opportunity in order to gain the necessary experience to work on similar healthcare issues in future.
The baby boom brought with it an aging population in America and this is projected to increase dependency ratio in the nation (Bissom-Rapp & Sergeant, 2013). Although the problem of age discrimination is a common issue in many countries including UK, the US age discrimination is attributed as a problem of the older people because of baby boom generation. This has shifted attention on age discrimination among the new entrants. There is need to develop necessary measures in order to focus more protection on the young workers seeking jobs in the market that is dominated by stereotypical views against the younger workers.
Statistical Evidence of Age Discrimination among Young Adults
The research done by (Sargeant, 2013) carried among the young people, carried among 500 companies showed a clear evidence of age discrimination towards young adult workers. The survey gives clear evidence that young adult workers are associated with superior skills, in that a large percentage, about 67% had superior creativity compared to older workers. The survey has a higher degree of validity since it was carried in a larger and representative sample of 500 companies.
Furthermore, the study has a rich literature review that gives comparative analysis between the younger and older population. The survey used a representative sample and focuses on the old and younger adult workers, its findings are reliable and unbiased. The main strength of the research study is its detailed analysis of the major factors that are attributed to be the causes of age discrimination among adult young workers. The survey went further and identified the major factors and consequences of age discrimination among the adult young workers. However, the survey failed to cover study on the challenges that adult entrants face when they seek employment in the companies. The study centered only on young adult workers who are already working but face age discrimination in their workplaces.
In a different research that was done on the impact of age in participation in national basketball association, (Fuhrman, n.d) did an exploitative research on the impact of age restrictions on the participation of young payers in NBA. Although the study found that the age discrimination law (ADA) prohibits against discrimination against age, the study found that the employment discrimination law justified minimum age requirement outside the antitrust law. It further asserts that the federal age discrimination law does not shield against the minimum age discrimination as it applied only to individuals above the age of forty.
The study was chiefly an explorative study and employed qualitative study on the influence of the relevant law discrimination laws in towards minimum age requirement for young players seeking for job employment in the NBA. The findings are valid and reliable since the study did a comprehensive literature review and comparative analysis with other published research on the same topic. However, the lack of statistical figures makes it hard to generalize the findings from the research. The study failed to perform actual impact of the age discrimination laws among the younger basketball players. In addition, the research is a bit biased in that it focused only on the impact of the age discrimination laws on young players while failing to create a comparison with the younger players who already have gained employment.
The major strength of the study comes from the fact that the study focused on a single major sport, which attracts young players. The study gives a detailed analysis of the relevant laws that govern age discrimination in the US and this makes the study a powerful source of information on applicability of the age discrimination laws in USA. However, it major weakness is the inability to addresses the impact of the same laws on young adult players in the NBA.
Ethical Perspectives on Age Discrimination
It is against the ethics of employment and human rights to equal opportunities to deny an individual an opportunity to have a job based on his/her age, (Throop, 2007). Most ethical issues associated with age discrimination are associated with the implementation of new technology of manufacturing processes. In such situations, companies are never ready to lose older workers at the expense of new entrants due to higher costs of training and the time it would take for such initiatives to take root. The entrants would be viewed feel not valued and as a form of denigration of their skills and knowledge.
The other unethical issue is the abdication of the corporate responsibilities. It is unethical to deny anybody a job opportunity as well as equal opportunity for promotion within an organization (Fuhrman, n.d). In addition to being costly, such acts put the shareholders and the larger market at a disadvantage. The stereotypical assertions towards younger employees are not only demeaning but create serious implications on their career paths. Furthermore, some age discriminations can cause serious implications on the employers if their acts are proven in the judicial institutions as they are against the federal law on equal opportunities for employment. Such lawsuits can lead to huge compensation claims towards the victim of discrimination.
Possible Solutions to Age Discrimination among Younger Workers
Adultism can be addressed in order to shield young people from age descrimionation in numerous ways. According to (Fletcher, 2008), it takes the responsibility of the old and young workers to tackle the problem of age discrimination. He asserts that the adults should serve as role models in their work place and strive to demonstrate in their conducts that they oppose attitudes and behaviors that create animosity, demean, debase, create injury and degrade against young adult workers. In addition, the young adult workers should display necessary etiquette in order to enhance their relationships with their senior workers and promote their career growth.
According to (Freeman, 2013), a young employee through his /her devotion and loyalty can overcome discrimination in the workplace. Through a mentor, a young employee can gain more skills and education by assuming tasks and responsibilities that no one is willing to perform and thus developing their careers. The younger workers who show high levels of commitment in their duties are less likely to be discriminated on basis of their age in the event of hiring or promotions.
Finally, the dominant group (the middle-age workers) can join their hands and demand increased participation of the younger adult workers based on their engagement, merit as well as full participation (Buccigrossi & Robinson, 2003). The same middle age workers should voice their concerns when the younger adult workers are discriminated. All these strategies shall go a long way in minimizing the occurrence of age discrimination within the workplace.
The problem of age discrimination is a problem at both ends of the employment age in America. The young entrants face job discrimination just like the old workers; however, the old workers are protected by the federal act on age discrimination. The same age discrimination act in protecting the old workers have made age discrimination among the young adult workers worse. Therefore, there remains need to engage the organizational management and middle-level workers in order to eradicate the problem, which is unethical and presents numerous ethical implications to the workers and the companies.
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