The ADEA Turns 50
It is the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is using this anniversary as a time to remind us all that 50 years ago, arbitrary age limits for hiring and firing were common. Older workers represented less than five percent of new hires at the time. With the enactment of the ADEA in 1967, Congress sought to promote the employment of older workers based on ability. The ADEA opened opportunities for older workers by banning most age limits and requiring equal treatment of workers without regard to age.
"Much has changed in the past 50 years. More older persons are in the workforce than ever before. With so many more people working and living longer, we can't afford to allow age discrimination to waste the knowledge, skills and talent of older workers," said Acting Chair of the EEOC Victoria A. Lipnic. "Outdated assumptions about age and work deprive people of economic opportunity and stifle job growth and productivity."
"Research refutes assumptions that older workers are less productive, technophobic or inflexible," explained Sara Czaja, director of the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE). "Unfortunately, numerous negative stereotypes about older workers still exist that often prevent or have a negative impact on employment opportunities for older people. These stereotypes can also prevent organizations from realizing the wealth of positive assets, such as wisdom, experience and reliability that older workers can bring to the table," said Czaja.
Lipnic emphasizes that, "The ADEA is based on the principle that ability matters — not age. No one should be denied a job or should lose a job based on assumptions or stereotypes. Age is just a number. It doesn't define one's ability, potential or value. That is the purpose and the promise of the ADEA."
Information on the ADEA can be found here.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available on their website.