Thursday, February 23, 2012

Age Discrimination in the Workplace

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Age Discrimination in the Workplace


I. Introduction


Age discrimination continues to happen in the United States. Different perception happening during the change of working environment sometimes creates unfair competition and drive corporations to make policies for their companies.


This tendency becomes worse at this time. It is reported that between 188 and 15 many companies receives lawsuits against age discrimination, where the amounts are bigger than those of any other lawsuit cases. Steinhauser (00) said, “About an average of $1,000 was awarded, compared to $147,7 for race discrimination, $106,78 for sex discrimination and $100,45 for disability cases.”


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There are some reasons why such discrimination occurs. Experienced workers, some who already reach their golden age would cost more to the company, because of their high salary due to experience and exposure to the company where they know well about what is going on. When a company finds the older employees stay at their retirement age, it realizes how much it would cost. The company may need to pay higher retirement reimburse when it decides to keep older worker together with it for a longer period.


On the other hand, the presence of younger workers would give fresh performance for the company. Despite the less experience that the younger workers have, they perform more productive working performance compared to older workers, as older workers would need to deal with their physical challenge.


The company will be able to make any lower salaries as well if the older workers release their space for the younger ones. Their refusal to retire early also means that they are taking away jobs from younger workers.


As Sauer (001) said, the AARP study indicated that the senior generation does not plan to have early retirement. Their working performance is as good as they did in younger age. About 8 in 10 of the people that are supposed to be retired soon plan to work in their “retirement years”.


Sauer (001) also mentioned the data gathered at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that “between 18 and 008 the percentage of workers age 45 and older will increase by about 7 percent,” which means a growing 17 million workers of workers above 45 year old, while “workers age 55 to 64 are projected to increase by 10 million during this time.” Competition grows rapidly while on the other hand corporations undergo economy pressure, which sometimes lead them to crisis. The continuous growth of the age group plus the rapid development of the younger workforce tend to lead in age discrimination.





Practically, the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) had prohibited such practices since it would not protect the senior rights.


The Discrimination Attorney site reveals some practices that commonly happen in private institutions leading to age discrimination like


a. Golden Handshakes It happens when the company is facing an economy crisis, or at least that is what the company is complaining. It is necessary for them to release some of the employees; therefore it offers the older members a “golden handshake”, the “special packages” for the employees to take early retirement. While in nature this practice cannot be included in age discrimination, it is illegal when the firm does it to “get rid of older workers.”


b. Replacing Older Workers


In any condition, age should not be the reason why a company replaces its older workers. Moreover, a firm cannot replace a worker who is forty or more in age with somebody who is also about this age.


c. Replacing Higher Earners and Age Discrimination in the Workplace


Senior employees make better earnings for their length of work, and this is one issue where some corporations try to avoid this situation. They tend to hire younger workers to reduce the expenses as younger workers earn less. This action is illegal and strictly prohibited to protect the employee rights.


This report is going to be an analysis how far the practice is going in the big and small firms, as well as the readiness of both the managerial group and the employees to face the possible age discrimination situations. The corporations would also need to see the problem and learn the details to provide proper retirement program for the employees, so that when their senior age comes, the companies do not need to get lawsuit from disappointed employee.


II. The study


To have direct data account towards the ongoing issue, a questionnaire has been made and distributed to the target population, which are the key players within the issue. They are sent to 5 large firms and 5 small firms in one area. Both managerial group and employees received the questionnaire in different purposes. The comparison between the results in the small corporation group respondents and in the large corporation group respondents would reflect the discrimination practices, and the deal with policies.


The questionnaire is designed to uncover any related materials to age discrimination. The employees will be limited for the group age of over 40 years old, to reveal the most significant factors that address their involvement and motivation towards their current job, and towards what they expect by the time they retire.


The other target group is the management, where they are in the right position to oversee ongoing issue, the tendency of practical work performed by the different group of age. They have the authority to issue new internal policies of the corporation, examine the work qualities of the workers, and continue to keep on to the company’s goals.


Different answers are expected to come from different goals. The employees are expected to identify the current age discrimination practices while the managerial level with different goals in their mind is expected to provide their breakthrough to prevent any claim. If they have new policy approaches to make it in balance between the younger and the older employees, then such emotional distress can be reduced from the office atmosphere.


Chi-square test analysis will be employed to the raw data gathered from the questionnaire, as there are two independent groups for independent variable within two different categories (small and big firms) and employees and managerial answers. As the result gathered, an interpretation can be made from this analysis to help defining the probable practices that occur in the practices.


III. Results of the study


A. Employees level


Large Firms Small Firms


Yes No Don’t know Yes No Don’t know


Detect an age discrimination 45 5 0 0 0 40


Experience an age discrimination 5 15 50 0 40 40


Demand new policies 55 10 5 40 0 40


Still included in important jobs 0 45 5 40 40 0


Have an early retirement plan 0 45 5 0 0 60


Data in percentage


B. Management level


Large Firms Small Firms


Yes No Don’t know Yes No Don’t know


Understand the definition of age discrimination 55 45 - 50 50 -


Currently attempting practices on age discrimination 5 60 15 5 60 15


Have a policy plan on age discrimination 45 50 5 0 40 0


Include older workers in important jobs 40 50 10 50 40 10


Data in percentage


The study shows that age discrimination practices apply in larger firms more than in smaller firms. It can be explained that in larger firms, there is less personal attention that the managers are paying to the employees. Sometimes employees also find difficulties assessing their complaints for minimum resources they can compile against the workers. On the other hand, in smaller firms, both employers and employees can still maintain the more controlled atmosphere. Older employees are still paid high respect and involved in important projects. Some of the reasons probably are because the company is lack of good human resources and it is quite time consuming to have new large recruitment programs, and therefore they can utilize both younger and older employees in equal portion.


In larger companies, there are higher frequencies for competitions, recruitments, promotions, relocations, and company training programs where there are larger distributions of the employees, both the younger and the older ones. Often the company assigns the younger workers more in important projects, projecting that centralized supervision would benefit the company for the goal establishment. The company can also force the younger workers to follow certain rules, rather than forcing the older workers.


However, there is better acknowledgement of policies in bigger companies about age discrimination. It is probably related to the larger risk that those companies may take if they completely ignore this issue. Such acknowledgement is necessary to build in the smaller firms to anticipate unexpected problems in the future.


IV. Recommendation


It is necessary that companies keep looking at their employee performance not only at their current performance but also as a matter of human. The older workers in fact have devoted their time and life to help the company grow at the high level. Companies may also benefit from their growing expertise and time invested to train them in long period’s years before. Training new employees at this similar level would cost more time and money. Older workers may also present the company with instant performance, while younger workers still need training and continuing the process to learn the rope.


Companies can avoid future problems by revamping their culture assessment, like assessing their culture. Executives need to understand how their older workers feel and recognize hidden facts about age discrimination in the area. On the other hand, employees also need to have clear words with the employers about what abilities they can do to increase the company performance. Moreover, they should prove how their seniority makes good value for the company, instead of holding it back. It can be gained if the company cares to conduct internal research. Company can also put them in mentoring program, which will create good relationships among employees, and saves a lot of training program that they may need to pay for younger workers.


Ends


Bibliography


Age Discrimination in the Workplace. The Discrimination Attorney. December 6, 00. http//www.discriminationattorney.com/age.html


Sauer, Jennifer H. Age Discrimination in the Workplace A 001 Survey of Utah Residents Age 40+. 001. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Knowledge Management. December 6, 00. http//research.aarp.org/general/ut_discrimination.pdf


Stark, D. E. Age Discrimination in the Workplace. 18. High Technology Career Magazine. December 6, 00. http//www.hightechcareers.com/docs/age.html


Steinhauser, Sheldon. Age Bias Is Your Corporate Culture in Need of an Overhaul? 18. HR Magazine. December 6, 00. http//www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/078cov.htm


Steinhauser, Sheldon. Minimizing Your Potential for Age Discrimination Lawsuits. 18. American Management Association International. December 6, 00. http//clem.mscd.edu/~steinhas/minimizing.htm


Ends


Bibliography


Age Discrimination in the Workplace. The Discrimination Attorney. December 6, 00. http//www.discriminationattorney.com/age.html


Sauer, Jennifer H. Age Discrimination in the Workplace A 001 Survey of Utah Residents Age 40+. 001. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Knowledge Management. December 6, 00. http//research.aarp.org/general/ut_discrimination.pdf


Stark, D. E. Age Discrimination in the Workplace. 18. High Technology Career Magazine. December 6, 00. http//www.hightechcareers.com/docs/age.html


Steinhauser, Sheldon. Age Bias Is Your Corporate Culture in Need of an Overhaul? 18. HR Magazine. December 6, 00. http//www.shrm.org/hrmagazine/articles/078cov.htm


Steinhauser, Sheldon. Minimizing Your Potential for Age Discrimination Lawsuits. 18. American Management Association International. December 6, 00. http//clem.mscd.edu/~steinhas/minimizing.htm


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