Concept and brief description:
ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) was sign in 1967 by President Johnson in order to protect older workers from being discriminated against because of their age. Since then the law has been through many revisions but is still a major player in companies who care about staying in business. There is however an increasing amount of claims being filed and businesses are getting smarter ideas to protect themselves from getting in trouble.
Emotional hook (provocative question/ claim/real-life problem):
In 1996 there were over 20,000 complaints for age discrimination, while only about 2,000 of them were approved in favor of the complainant. This makes me wonder how well the current regulations are protecting the people from discrimination. There will always be those that try to take advantage of the system, but 10% is very low.
Key points to elicit in discussion
Some companies have come up with ways to work around the laws by switching the focus of the complaint from age discrimination to work performance as well as arguing that the position has a certain requirement when it comes to age, for example a fashion clothing store may argue that to get business from youthful aged people it should have youthful fashionable workers. Another example was flight attendants who for years have the stereotype for being young attractive women, but there is no reason a 40 or 50 year old couldn’t perform the same position.
Where is the line drawn when it comes to stereotypes? Is it ok for Mexican restaurants to only hire Mexicans? Woman’s clothing stores to only hire woman? Teenage clothing stores to hire teenagers? Would it really hurt the business to allow older workers to fill positions that are thought of as younger worker jobs? What about young people filling jobs that are traditionally thought of as older workers jobs?
Worsnop, R. L. (1997, August 1). Age discrimination. CQ Researcher, 7, 673-696. Retrieved January 19, 2010, from CQ Researcher Online, http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre1997080100.