Thursday, April 13, 2006

Age Discrimination

Are Some Industries Harder on Older Workers Than Others?
http://news.com.com/Exec+sues+Oracle+for+age+discrimination/2100-1017_3-240479.html

This article states, "The tech industry has a reputation for favoring younger workers. "The amount of age discrimination is absolutely outrageous," he said. "In the high-tech industry, if you're over 35, you're over the hill."

The executive vice president, at age 55, was fired and is now suing for age discrimination. He claims that this was preceded by many derogatory comments regarding older workers. Following our discussion on Tuesday, I believe that this man may have difficulty proving that the comments lead to his dissmissal. Bill Payson, an advocate who heads Serniortechs.com, says, "Proving age discrimination is extremely difficult." Payson also continues to say that the tech industry has a reputation of favoring young workers. One reason these jobs may discriminate more than others is because, ""The Internet changes very rapidly. This affects youngsters and oldsters. You can be outdated long before you're old…just because technology is changing a lot faster than you are."

This potentially means that certain fields of employment may be losing a lot of skilled workers. Just because people assume that older people can't, "get with the program," or that they are, "behind the times," does not mean that they aren't capable of working in fast paced and changing environments. I believe that only after it is clear that the age gap is causing an actual tangible problem, clear of any stereotypes, should firing even become an option. Furthermore, instead of just letting go of the older workers as the technology changes, companies should develop programs to make sure the entire staff is up to date and on the same page. This could be in the form of workshops or weekly meetings. Just because the internet is always rapidly changing does not mean that older workers cannot keep up. (And on a side note...since when was 55 old?!)

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