TAYLOR: The hidden discrimination in America’s workplace

Age discrimination is rampant in the United States, but it is difficult to prove and the media ignores it. Photo: Discrimination against seniors is invisible Photo: mynjattorneys.com

CHARLOTTEAugust 14, 2013 Age discrimination is rampant across the United States today, but it is a hidden bias that is largely ignored by the media. Other segments of society are more difficult to discriminate against; race, gender and, even, religion.

Not so with age. Put your “Date of Birth” on a resume and it will hit File 13 without so much as a glance.

Leave DOB off your resume and employers can determine your age bracket simply by reviewing your experience.

Further complicating the situation is that potential employers can deny interviews to legitimate prospects without facing consequences because there are so many loopholes available to bypass the “age” factor.

Age discrimination is also a consequence of downsizing. Firing someone because for being too old is far easier than race or gender. All a company needs to do is create a bogus reorganization plan with job descriptions disguised as other skills. Voila, the older employee is out and a younger, less experienced new hire has a job. Translation, youth commands a lower salary. Experience be damned.

American society is aging. Baby Boomers are now reaching what was once called retirement age.  Still, age is overlooked and under-reported by the media, and many Boomers cannot afford to retire.

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It is not uncommon today to hear broadcasters, celebrities or politicians make grandiose wagers using outlandish dollar amounts. During the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney challenged a fellow debater to a $10,000 bet. Doesn’t everyone relate to that?

Bill O’Reilly makes no qualms about his wealth. Oprah Winfrey shops for $38.000 pocketbooks. Rush Limbaugh has become rich beyond imagination pretending to be a voice for the common man.

When Donald Trump plays golf with other celebrities, their “friendly” wagers would probably pay the annual salary for an unemployed senior citizen.

Then there’s Barack “In-Your-Face” Obama who had the family dog privately flown to Martha’s Vineyard. Now there is someone in touch with reality.

All of the above, except one, earned their wealth. They deserve to enjoy it as they wish. But they all also claim to be advocates for the little guy.

There is another drawback, however. In general, the public does not relate to personalities and politicians as being seniors.

The subject of age goes unreported by the seniors mentioned above and others like them because they live in a world where applying for a job is non-factor.

Celebrity status alone allows them to command huge speaking fees, book deals and other financial rewards that supplement their already exorbitant salaries. In truth, they are incapable of relating to an average senior citizen who has no possibility of a job interview.

If a senior is already a major corporate executive or a retired politician with a network of resources in the “good old boys club.” that’s different.

Bill O’Reilly is a one man book-of-the-month club. However, if he was not Bill O’Reilly with a national FOX outlet to promote his material, how much more difficult would it be for him to find a publisher?

Rush Limbaugh has been on the air for 25-years. When he started Limbaugh was not a senior citizen. Chances are if he was not a celebrity today and walked in off the street, considering his age, they wouldn’t even look at his resume.

Apologies for a personal reference, but as one who took a one year assignment in Saudi Arabia in 2003, here’s a different perspective.

One reason for going was to learn more about the country responsible for killing 3,000 people on 9/11/01.

Another was to bring back some Saudi oil money and put it in an American bank. A token protest for sure, but it felt good.

Last, and most important, is because it was available.

Here’s the irony. Saudi Arabia hired a 57 year old man because he was qualified. Since returning home in 2004, only one job interview has been offered to me in my own country. Count this person among those who quit looking.

Opting to live in Saudi Arabia or the United States is a ridiculous choice for anyone who is sane. Yet how remarkable that at age 57, work could be obtained in a region where Westerners are despised, but is unavailable in the United States of America, the land of opportunity.

High profile television reporters and journalists do not report about age discrimination because they already have jobs and are unaware of it. Senior celebrities are oblivious to the problem because they are employed and do not have to deal with it. Even if they did, many are already so wealthy that age is not a factor.

Why then do they keep working? Partly for ego and recognition, but mainly because, like other seniors, they enjoy being productive and relevant.

Corporate America couldn’t care less about hiring capable experienced workers. Qualified active seniors are regarded as disposable members of society…except for those with means or notoriety or both.

Contact Bob at Google+

About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events and the people and cultures around the globe. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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