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COAAD

Third Age is a voluntary, community organization in Ireland representing and promoting the interests of older Irish citizens. This is how they define ageism:

"Ageism is a prejudice against people because they are "old". Like other ‘isms’, such as racism, it lumps a large group of people together and reduces them to a negative common denominator. Ageism is extremely pervasive and permeates many aspects of society including government, the general public, and older people themselves."

Not unlike the practitioners of other 'isms', such as racism, the practitioners of ageism use pejorative words and expressions to put down, insult, denigrate, marginalize and otherwise abuse the victims of their prejudice. 

Dr. Bob McCann, a Professor at USC Marshall School of Business, published an article titled, When Words Get Old: Ageist Language Undercuts Workers, Companies in which he wrote:

"Age-related comments such as "the old woman," "that old goat," "too long on the job," "old and tired," "a sleepy kind of guy with no pizzazz," "he had bags under his eyes," and he is "an old fart" are just some of the hundreds of ageist comments McCann and Giles unearthed in their analysis of age-discrimination lawsuits."

The ignorant workplace bullies who make the type of ageist comments mentioned in the previous paragraph are a major liability to their company and should probably be fired. They are creating a hostile work environment that more likely than not results in lowered productivity and a loss of profits resulting from age discrimination lawsuit settlements and judgments.

Ageist language helps support and promote an environment where people believe that people over 40 can be demeaned, ridiculed and marginalized. This language conveys the attitude that older adults should be treated differently. Differently in the sense that older adults should be treated as less valued, less capable and otherwise generally lesser members of society than younger adults.

Dr. Robert Butler, the psychiatrist and gerontologist who led the International Longevity Center for 20 years, won the Pulitzer Prize and coined the word "ageism in 1968, observed:

"Ageism allows younger generations to see older people as different than themselves; thus they subtly cease to identify with their elders as human beings."

In line with Dr. Butler's statement is the fact that derogatory, ageist language supports and creates prejudices, negative stereotypes and prejudgments about older adults. People should be careful about using terms that attribute disagreeable habits and personality traits, physical and/or mental weakness to people over 40. We cannot reduce of eradicate ageism unless we put a lid on the language that promotes ageism.

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Posted by on in 2013

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COAAD

There is a disease infecting American business organizations that is isolating, impoverishing and, in some cases, killing off a segment of the American population. This disease is age discrimination.

As I see it, today's arrogant business organization / corporate practitioners of age discrimination and the cast of characters who earn their living helping them defend, promote and engage in the morally reprehensible practice of age discrimination violate both the spirit and intent of The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 as enunciated in 29 USC § 621 - Congressional statement of findings and purpose:

(a) The Congress hereby finds and declares that—

(1) in the face of rising productivity and affluence, older workers find themselves disadvantaged in their efforts to retain employment, and especially to regain employment when displaced from jobs;

(2) the setting of arbitrary age limits regardless of potential for job performance has become a common practice, and certain otherwise desirable practices may work to the disadvantage of older persons;

(3) the incidence of unemployment, especially long-term unemployment with resultant deterioration of skill, morale, and employer acceptability is, relative to the younger ages, high among older workers; their numbers are great and growing; and their employment problems grave;

(4) the existence in industries affecting commerce, of arbitrary discrimination in employment because of age, burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce.

(b) It is therefore the purpose of this chapter to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment.

Perhaps these corporate / business organization ageists have so little regard for the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 because it's over 40 years old.

History is not on the side of ageist companies and their agents because they walk in the footsteps of the vile segregationists who denied equal rights to African-Americans, the misanthropic promoters and supporters of the Nuremberg Laws and every other ignorant, hateful group of people that has conspired to deny equal rights to their fellow human beings based upon gender, race, national origin, disability, religion and/or sexual preference.

In many cases, ageist organizations and individuals control or have substantial influence over enormous amounts of financial resources. This mountain of wealth gives these companies instant access to a legion of pay to play professionals who will do their bidding for almost any purpose. With this power and access to talent without conscience they can bend weak laws to their will and use their wealth to justify, promote and engage in destructive, morally reprehensible behavior.

Companies that engage in age discrimination and the people who earn their living helping them practice and promote ageism do not deserve our respect, admiration or patronage. They do deserve to be legislated against, prosecuted, boycotted and marginalized until they decide to stop feeding their deeply rooted, sometimes hate based ignorance and prejudices at the expense of the people they discriminate against.

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Editor and Publisher, The San Bruno Beacon

I was recently reading an article titled, Too Old to Get Hired. The article was interesting, the reader comments following the article were eye opening. I wondered how many of the people who had posted their heart-rending stories and other similarly situated victims of age discrimination had become impoverished, homeless, committed suicide or engaged in other acts of desperation when their options ran out.

I did more research and found another article titled, "Dark side of social media: age discrimination". This CBS article pinned the proverbial tail of suspicion on certain companies in the following sentence:

"According to PayScale, which claims to have the world's largest employee compensation database, the median ages of employees at Apple, Google and Facebook are 33, 31 and 26, respectively."

The PayScale median age numbers for Facebook become clear when you visit Facebook's employment page where the pictures on the pages convey a clear message to prospective job seekers that if they are not on the young side of 30 you won't fit in at Facebook. As I see it, the Facebook career page places a chilling effect on job seekers who do not fit into what in my opinion is Facebook's Logan's Run style corporate culture.

There is nothing fun, exciting or cutting edge about age discrimination. Age discrimination is as vile and hateful a practice as race based discrimination, gender discrimination, religious discrimination, discrimination based upon sexual orientation, etc.

It is now time for the victims of age discrimination to organize and take the appropriate legal and economic action against companies that refuse to replace their Logan's Run style corporate cultures with age diversity initiatives that will provide equal access to and availability of job opportunities for people of all ages.

Legislators need to know that new legislation must be drafted and enacted to close the loopholes in current laws, create new laws where necessary and increase the penalties against companies and individuals at companies who engage in the vile and hateful practice of age discrimination. In addition, people who are victims of age discrimination should aggressively pursue legal action against those who discriminate against them. People must also organize themselves into political and economic action groups to boycott companies that refuse to create age diversity initiatives and refuse to buy products or services from companies that do business with companies that engage in age discrimination.

The time has come to put an end to age discrimination.

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Copyright © 2012 WM. Baker Associates. All rights reserved. Except as permitted by applicable provisions of the United States Copyright Act, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher.