ADEA protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. However, ADEA permits employers to favor older employees even if it adversely affects a younger worker over 40 years. The law is applicable to employers with 20 or more employees including state and local governments.
1.2 Causes of age discrimination
ADEA was amended by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA) to prohibit employers from depriving the older workers of benefits (EEOC, n.d.). .
There has been a sharp increase in the number of age-discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC and has been largely attributed to the weak economy and an aging workforce. Today there are older employees to discriminate against and more economic incentives to do so (Puri, 2003). According to EEOC age discrimination claims were up by 29% in 2008 which is almost double the increase in age discrimination claims (Ghilaarducci, 2009).
1.3 Thesis statement
When it comes to cutting costs, older workers are the targets of layoffs. When companies are forced to reorganize, the older workers are perceived as incapable of keeping up with new technologies. The employers get the support of the law and hence use business strategies as a cover to purge older workers (Puri, 2003). However, an aging workforce can be an invaluable asset and organizations using age discrimination as a measure of cost savings are actually spending more than what they would in retaining older employees.