The effects of discrimination have been pervasive in our society for many years. Over 30 years ago, initial legislation was enacted to eliminate discrimination in employment due to race, color, sex, religion or national origin. Several years later, the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 made it unlawful to discriminate against any individual with respect to his/her compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment due to age. However, age discrimination continues to be a problem that particularly manifests itself in the workplace. This paper is concerned with examining the origins of the discrimination that occurs in the workplace and the background of ADEA. .
Background. In Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination in employment based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin was prohibited. These groups were seen as entities who had borne the brunt of severe past discrimination. The act was a giant step forward in industrial relations in terms of preventing employers form arbitrarily discriminating against their employees for non job-related reasons. However, Age Discrimination in employment was not prohibited by Title VII. Subsequently in 1967, another statute was enacted to provide group protection against discriminatory employment practices for the aged. However, we see that the aged (and initially specified protected groups) continue to be discriminated against even today. This discrimination is especially pervasive in the workplace.
This discrimination occurs because there are presumed advantages of having younger employees and terminating employment to avoid having the employee become vested in retirement plans (Borgatta, 2002). Various stereotypes have been perpetuated over the years concerning an older worker's job performance as well. Many feel that older workers are more costly (in terms of health and insurance benefits).