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Too Old For A Job Essay

The lay off problem is critical to many of the aspects in the national economy. Today’s situation on the labor market shows that numbers of downsized workers continue to increase. People lose their job without being able to return to their previous financial prosperity. Moreover, a great number of laid off workers (44%) is currently unemployed.

There is a number of reasons for the lay-off of workers, such as inventing new technology that is intended to replace human force, a cut down in demand, a decrease in budget. However, there are many cases when a company’s decision about downsizing its employees is based on discrimination of sex, race, nationality, and age. Many companies are making decisions about the workers’ lay off on the basis of age , which is unethical from either legal or moral points of view. The evaluation of a worker’s performance should be based on his/her personal achievements and progress, but not on an employee’s belonging to some social group.

Unfortunately, the stereotypes of the older aged workers’ inability to perform organizational tasks negatively influence their advancement in careers. Older employees are often unreasonably considered less committed to their job, less productive, less flexible, less creative, and less enthusiastic. However, in spite of some of their physical inability and weakness, the older workers posses many of the vital advantages.

They can learn to adapt to the new environments with the same success as younger workers or even better, overcome challenging problems, meet the standards of high productivity, be ready for changes and innovations. Moreover, older workers posses a great experience, which is a key to success in any industry. Therefore, everyone should be given equal opportunities as for career possibilities. Age, as well as other personal characteristics, should not be a reason for a lay off.

The federal and state laws about discrimination are intended to protect people from employer’s judging the employee’s ability to work according to their age. For example, ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) guarantees every employee, who is over forty years old, the right to be treated fairly. However, it protects only the organizations with 15 or more employees. This law prohibits an employer to make the following decisions on the basis of employee’s age: refuse an applicant a job, reduce privileges and bonuses, deny in promotions and transfers, force to retire before the age of 70.

Nevertheless, the statistics shows that the existing laws and policies do not fully eliminate the problem: 40-49 year old laid off workers take up 38%, while those of the age 50-60 years old take up 32%. The workers, who spent their entire life advancing in their careers, are now unemployed, without any hope for the future. Others, who have found jobs after being laid off, cannot regain their previous financial status and desired salaries.

The average annual income of people before the lay off was approximately $40 000. Their current jobs changed that number to $25 000 a year; the salary declined $3.58 per hour. Half of the households of those, who were downsized, are “185% below the federal poverty line”. The numbers stated above evidence that 70 % of the laid off workers are 40 and over years old. Therefore, the means, through which the federal and state government is trying to deal with the problem, are not effective enough to change the negative results of discrimination.

Evidence shows that one of the most important reasons for the worker’s lay off is discrimination of age. Employers make decisions concerning their workers using their personal sympathy and disposition to specific social groups, which does not result in the better efficiency of the work. In order to maintain high productivity, an employer should evaluate his workers according to their skills, experience, and progress. The age of the person does not determine his/her ability to perform organizational tasks.

Works Cited

“Age Discrimination.” 2001. Business Week Online. 5/28/03

Lisa Pohlmann and Christopher St. John. ”Life After Lay-Off.” September 1999. 5/28/03. <>

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