Ageism: Nothing to be done about it?

Subject: Ageism: Nothing to be done about it?
From: John Gear <catalyst -at- PACIFIER -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 1996 10:05:50 -0700

>There is nothing I can do about it. And, actually, ageism may not be a
>problem.

There is nothing you can do about it only if you think there's nothing you
can do about it.

But in the US, if there is persistent discrimination against older folks by an
employer, there will be a number of similar cases. If several of you will
contact the EEOC
or a state equivalent (almost all states have an agency concerned with enforcing
equal opportunity statutes) and say "I'm concerned that company X may have
rejected
me because of my age" then it may become possible for them to investigate
the issue.

Many different arms of the Fed. have conducted "stings" with by providing
identical (resumes, mortgage applications, rental applications, etc.) for
black and white
applicants.

It turns out that people who discriminate against people by (color, sex,
age, sexual
orientation, etc.) are often not too bright [surprise!], because they fall
for the sting far
more often than can be justified by chance. Inevitably they hire the
"right" applicant,
or give them the mortgage, or the apartment, and tell the "wrong" one "Sorry."

It would seem relatively straightforward to modify the sting to test for age
discrimination.
This approach doesn't necessarily change the attitudes but it often results
in a consent
decree where the firm has to bend over backwards to both be fair and to
appear fair in
their hiring/loaning/renting etc.

With folks over 40 being the most politically potent group in the country,
I bet complaints of ageism get pretty prompt and courteous attention by
these agencies.
Many people who discovering the wrong side of ageism are former members of
the elite
class--the cast off managers and knowledge workers discarded from
Corporateland.
(These people make great plaintiffs because they have the education,
credentials and experience employers claim to be seeking and they are
articulate. Not to mention that they are often energized
by an unusual level of outrage--many of them are stunned to find that
discrimination really *does*
exist and can affect *them*!)



John Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com)
The Bill of Rights -- The ORIGINAL Contract with America
Beware of Imitations. Accept No Substitutes. Insist on the Genuine Articles.
(t shirts with the above saying available, send e-mail for info)


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