Age Discrimination In America’s Human Resource Offices


In an organization, age discrimination manifests itself when a person’s age is considered while recruiting, promoting or offering specific job benefits. In America, this discrimination mostly affects aged people who are often singled out in preference of the young recruits. Conversely, there have been several incidences where young workers have been fired and their positions were taken by older people. According to a report filed jointly by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Chartered Management Institute, sixty percent of those interviewed confessed to having experienced some form of age discrimination in their respective workplaces. However, this problem has been reducing with time over the last few years, probably because of changes in the population structure of the American working group. In 1967, the United States Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This was done in order to curb the behavior of employers discriminating against those aged above forty-five years while recruiting new employees. The Act protects employees aged between forty to sixty-five years against being discriminated against during the processes of hiring, promoting, giving benefits, and training. Congress went further and made some amendments that banned compulsory retirement or any other method of age discrimination before the age of seventy (Falk & Falk, 1997, pp.23-34).

Causes of age discrimination

Generally, age discrimination in the workplace occurs due to increased demand for labor and the general belief by many employers that the aged are less productive. In addition, many companies believe that it is too costly to employ older people due to their special requirements such as health care, pension and other extreme benefits. They also complain of the inflexibility associated with older people. Generally, the old is believed to be technically incapable. However, studies on the older worker’’ capabilities have been seen to dispute these common ideologies among employers. They argue that, although some mental and physical capabilities decline as one grows old, the rate is minute until later age. This can however be substituted with a better experience (Peter & Jenifer, 2002, par.6-7).

Latest court rulings in America have retaliated that retirees are also protected against age discrimination. The law states that the employees’ benefits include benefits provided to the present employees of a firm and its retirees. This has resulted in an increase in court cases concerning retirees and age discrimination. Employees are required to provide comments made at the workplace as evidence of age discrimination. This could be from their supervisors, co-workers, management personnel or the firm’s chief executive officers (U.S Legal Definitions, 2009, par. 1-5).

Cases of age discrimination

According to a survey conducted to determine the annual age at work in Chicago on November 10, 2008, 80% of the executives admitted that there was still far too harsh age discrimination in the United States workplaces. From the survey, Gray Hair Management found that most of the executives lost their jobs due to their age. The survey discovered that, when persons clock the age of fifty years, it becomes a problem for them to be hired by most of the companies in America. However, there are some of the executives who believe that their age played a vital role in their enrollment to their current jobs. As a result, some people have gone to an extent of making adjustments to their ages to help them stand better chances of being recruited (Shafer, 2009, par. 1-6).


People have diverse capabilities at different phases of their life, and therefore employers ought to make their employment decisions based on job type rather than considering the ages. This will ensure that they have fully utilized employees’ skills.


Falk, U. A. and Falk, G. (1997). Ageism, the Aged and Aging in America. Springfield, Ill: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd.

Peter, U. & Jenifer, H. (2002). Age Discrimination. Encyclopedia of Aging. 2009. Web.

Shafer, K. K. (2009). Survey: Age Discrimination Still a Problem at Top Ranks of Corporate America. Web.

U.S Legal Definitions. (2009). Age Discrimination Law & Legal Definition. Web.