Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Age Discrimination: Dilemma in the Modern World

Have you heard the news? Brian Reid, a 54 year old former Google executive filed an age discrimination suit against the against the Internet search engine, maintaining that he was fired because he did not fit its youthful corporate culture.
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects people age 40 and over from employment discrimination based on age. The law says that an employer may not fire, refuse to hire, or treat an employee differently than other employees because of his/her age. The law applies to all private employers with 20 or more employees and to federal and local governments. It also applies to state governments, although their employees cannot sue them directly for age discrimination.
I am saddened by the fact that in this time and age, age discrimination is still rampant in various workplaces. Isn’t it that employers should get and keep employees in their jobs based on their capacity, not age?
As the saying goes, “wisdom comes with age”. If we believe in this saying then the more we should keep older people in the workforce. Their years of experience have gained them the knowledge and expertise needed in their respective job. Problems are easily solved because they have been addressed so many times before.
On the other hand, if the company is trying to portray a youthful corporate culture, does it follow then that it shall only hire and keep young workers? Youth comes vibrancy and ling and easy going atmosphere.
That’s exactly why laws are passed to adopt measures on how to prevent, if not totally eradicate, age discrimination. This is because more people work longer due to economic necessity or by choice. At some point of every employee’s life, he/she is going to be protected by it because all of us get older. When that time comes, I wonder what will the “not so old” people today who will be by then old and cranky feel.
This is my stand, so long as an employee is able to perform his/her assigned task efficiently and effectively, age should never be an issue.