If you thought Merits of Seniority will Gain you Workplace Respect, Think Again

Somewhere amidst the market shift from baby boomers to millennials, we are forgetting the ethics of respecting our well-read and experienced elder gentry. In the U.S., age discrimination is posing a major trouble spot today.

PR Newswire

DURHAM, N.C., Aug. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The major reason behind the increasing demographic base of baby boomers in the U.S workforce is a longer life expectancy and the Great recession. A recent report in Bloomberg Businessweek mentioned that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has recorded 22% of workers are in the age group of 55-and-above. The advantages of having a larger percentage of older people in the organization are varied. You have people who are expert and seasoned in their subject-matter as well as institutional knowledge, and they exhibit exceptional loyalty to the organization and its values – which is an excellent motivator for the later generation. However, they are facing a lot of troubles in today's market.

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The potentiality of age discrimination is so high that the seniors over 40 year or old are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), to stop them from being a victim of discrimination in the workplace – either during the hiring or exit process. The number of charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity has shown an upward trend in the last two decades. For instance, FY1997 recorded 15, 785 such charges and it rose to 21,396 by 2013.

Ways Age-Based Discrimination Happen

Age-based discrimination is an age-old topic. There are a record number of ADEA claims on age-based discrimination. Age based harassment may seem like good fun at first as the older employees may laugh it away. However, it is quite possible that employees turn around one fine day and remark about the biasness against the older workforce, and the apathy of management towards it. It is observed that red flags spring up during times of change in the organization. Supposedly, the senior employee was passed over for a promotion or raise or was in a group of laid-off employees, problems may arise if the employer isn't ready to prove that age wasn't a deciding factor in the decision making and could lead to potential ADEA claims. Also, it is not completely illegal for an employer to ask its senior employee about the plan of retirement in few years. However, if case against discrimination is filed later, the plaintiff has full rights to site the questions as an example of the discrimination.

It is important to understand that legal risks coming with older employees are not only limited to ADEA risks but also with Americans with Disability Act and Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA). The Americans with Disability Act applies to employees who experience physical difficulties as they age. Employers need to be sensitive to the needs of their elder employees and should arrange better ergonomic setup for them. The GINA prevents employers from asking genetic information to their employees and making employment decisions on that basis.

Various litigation risks arising from age-related discriminations can be stopped by organizations by adopting approaches like zero tolerance policies for any harassment and open-door policies for supervisors. This will help the employees share discriminatory issues, and the company can reciprocate with effective investigation. Companies who value their elder workforce, however, have a lot of ways to show their support, for instance keeping flexible or part-time work opportunities or allowing telecommuting.

If you want to understand the key employment discriminations and what are the regulations that they come with, you could join expert speaker Ronald Adler, President and CEO of Laurdan Association Inc., in a live audio conference 'Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance for Supervisors and Managers: Creating and Preserving a Legal and Respectful Workplace' on Wednesday, August 13, 2014. Ronald would be speaking in the conference organized by AudioSolutionz, an organization which provides business solutions for every industry. The portal also conducts conferences and webinars on myriad HR topics related to recruitment, corporate culture and HR strategies on trending, pithy topics addressed by experts and seasoned professionals from the industry.

Media Contact: Shivane K, Audio Solutionz, 1-800-223-8720, contact@audiosolutionz.com

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