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39 Managerial L. 5 (1997)

handle is hein.journals/ijlm39 and id is 1 raw text is: NEW DEVELOPMENTS CONCERNING
AGE DISCRIMINATION
by Bahman Mirhashemi and Brian H. Kleiner, Department of Management,
California State University, Fullerton.
Introduction
Today it is more important than any other time in our society for people to look
young. It can be said that members of our society are obsessed with youth. The
word youth is associated with being healthy, active (physically and sexually),
useful and intelligent. On the other hand, the term old is associated with words
such as unattractive, asexual, useless and incompetent. However, the process of
aging is something that everyone goes through, and there is nothing anyone can
do about it.
The obsession with looking young has also carried over to the work place.
As Americans age, older workers are considered a problem for management
because they cost too much to retain. Middle management considers older
workers as being incompetent and unfashionable. Management's belief that older
workers are unfashionable is something that is subjective, but their belief that
older workers are incompetent is inaccurate. Studies have shown that the com-
petence level and the work performance of the older workers are equal to that of
the younger workers[3]. Moreover, when a company loses its older workers, they
also lose years of experience and skills that older workers have accumulated over
the years.
Statistic on Population
The population of older people in the U.S. has grown steadily since the 1900's.
Statistics show that in 1900, 3.1 million people were considered to be in the older
people category, and in 1990 the total was 31.5 million. Also in 1900, the life
expectancy was forty-nine years and in 1990 seventy-five and six-tenths years.
Even though, the life expectancy of individuals will gradually level off, the portion
of elderly people in the population will grow as people in the baby boom
generation reach the retirement age [2, p.275].
It is estimated that the elderly people will account for 16% of the population
by the year 2020 and 21.7% by the year 2025 [2, p.275]. As the U.S. population
ages, members in that category will face discrimination from the younger people.
The discrimination will not only be faced in their everyday activities'but also in
the work place. Although discrimination'in the work place based on age begins
at a much earlier age than compared to discrimination based on an individual
being old and physically limited, in most cases people are faced with age discrimi-
nation on the job in their forties.
Age Discrimination
In the U.S. people have been discriminated against for many years, even with laws
protecting individuals against discrimination based on one's age, race, gender or
religious beliefs. In recent years, age discrimination in the work place has been

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Volume 39 Number 1 1997

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