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Age Discrimination in the Work Place


In the recent days the phenomenon of discrimination should be considered to be a peril of the employment. In this age of cultural diversity, economic development and modernization the age discrimination in labour market is a stigma to the corporate world. It is found in every corner of this planet, which disturbs the workplace balance of the respective society as it has deep routed negative impact on the company performance. Actually, age discrimination stems up from the dominating character of a certain age group in the company. It may take a form of Intimidation, economic deprivation, promotions and training.

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The wal-mart has done a lot to minimize discrimination, by ensuring employ empowerment regardless the age group. Training, promotions and demotions are based on merit not on age groups. More and more marginalized. The war on age discrimination has not yet been won and probably it will never, but everyone should learn to co exist with each other, whether we like or not, we need each other.


The word discrimination has many meanings but in social setting it means biased outlook action or treatment to someone, a community of something. This behavior is not new in the world. It has been there with us since time immemorial. It has been practiced by people from ages even in the current world of technology there is discrimination. The main reason for discrimination is that some people feel that they are superior than others. In such a situation discrimination becomes intense. If people associate with inferior group they are considered inferior and discriminated against. Regardless the education facilities available in the world today religion and religious sects people still in those institutions practice discrimination. In the world today there are people who still have primitive ideas about others. The consequence is they practice very bad discrimination. There are various forms of discrimination being practiced. Some of them include age discrimination, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, Tribalism, social status, disability, cultural and diseases (Bernbach, J. 1996).

Research background

Age discrimination in work place or employment scenario refers to differential treatment received by an individual on the basis of his age. If a person is rejected or not given some services in an organization because of his age then this issue becomes an issued of age discrimination.

In spite of the existing regulation formulated to bring about equality in workplace, discrimination against age is still going on and people have been victimized more in areas of economic equity, promotions i.e. in matters concerning income and employment along with distribution of occupation despite keeping a check and monitoring over the variables like income, employment and distribution of employmen.tif one looks at the salaries offered to highly qualified young people doing the same job to old men and women with a less qualification, you will find that there is discrimination. Despite keeping control over variables like income employment and distribution of occupation. Even though one finds more and more young people holding high positions in management the positions are somehow dominated by old men and women with huge payments. Almost 90% of top managerial positions in organizations are in the hands of old people who are handsomely paid as compared to their counter parts who are young people (Turner, I. 2009).

Statement of the problem

Age discrimination although not well pronounced in Wal-mart as gender inequality it is an issue to managers because most successful corporation such as Google search, Microsoft, face book and many others have young people in senior positions. While most of the failed corporate and responsible for the current economic crisis are associated aged managers. Elimination of age discrimination in appointment and promotions in Wal-mart today will provide an opportunity for all age groups to grow very professionally.

Literature review

Employment Discrimination

Discrimination in the labor force is unfortunately much more prevalent than most people think. Job discrimination means that certain groups of individuals face barriers, both hidden and overt, to their active participation and inclusion in an employment setting. This is the glass ceiling par excellence. Insidious yet pervasive, job discrimination affects all types of people but is particularly harmful to certain group of individuals. Accordingly, women, people with disabilities as well as people who are older face a variety of impediments to their full participation in the labor force in this country. The following will explore job discrimination with an eye to how this form of discrimination affects certain groups of people in the labor market and how society has attempted to protect these people from discrimination (Bernbach, J. 1996).

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Discrimination in the workforce affects people from all walks of life. Accordingly, the employment opportunities of half of our population are hindered by latent and overt sexism in the offices of America. It is well known that women in America earn substantially less than their male counterparts. The Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 was established more than four decades ago to protect men and women who perform the same tasks from wage-based discrimination. Sexism is an unfortunate aspect of our modern society but the EPA seeks to combat it through positive legislation aimed at correcting the pay discrepancy between men and women in the labor force. Older workers also face a variety of impediments to their active inclusion in the labor force and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination at work. Finally, people with disabilities face a plethora of hurdles in society and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was established to ensure the full inclusion of people with disabilities in American society. Covering a wide variety of instances of discrimination, the ADA is the most recent piece of legislation mentioned above which aims to tackle problems associated with discrimination in the labor force (Bernbach 1996; Ripa 2007).

Job discrimination prevents the active inclusion of certain types of individuals in the work environment and is detrimental both to the diversity of an office as well as to the productivity of a particular work space. Seeking to address the major challenges minorities face with respect to discrimination at work, the government has legislated policies to protect certain groups from harmful work practices. Job discrimination represents a glass ceiling for many people, is unethical and ends up hurting both the individual as well as the company. We now turn to an exploration of sexual harassment in the workforce, an insidious aspect of an androcentric workforce and an important component of the glass ceiling (Bernbach, J. 1996).

The rational bias theory

The evidences and instances all around does not keep any choice before us to say that discrimination does not occur. However there are certain theories or views which try to justify the action of discrimination at least at the individual level. One such theory is the ‘Rational Bias’ Theory. This recent theory of ‘rational bias’ have attempted to make the guilt of discrimination a little subdued as far as an individual is concerned. This theory proposes that a person may not be guilty at the individual level for this because it might be that their superiors would like them to actually execute a discriminating policy towards age. Therefore despite his own intention or motivation he might be influenced by his seniors or the very structure of the organization to deal with discrimination against the women. The employees in positions of decision making realize that in order to take their own career forward they would need to take into consideration the opinions and likes of the superiors (Larwood & Gattiker, 333; Larwood et al., 13-16). In such a case, the employees’ attitude of discrimination is viewed as instrumental as well as intentional but it is also considered that in the absence of pressures from the management or the superior level, such discrimination would be less likely to befall the people. However this des not impact the lawfulness of this occurrence (Bernbach, J. 1996).

Business measures and the federal law to deal with discrimination

Many employers believe that discrimination on any basis is adverse to the business interests of the employers because it leads to the negligence of merit and qualifications and therefore should not be exercised. However the Supreme Court recognized that even though the employers are liberal in their views towards gender difference, the supervisor or the manager might exercise his or her own interests in implementing discrimination of treatment within the office and in terms of reporting to higher authority. These motives are often not associated and at times even opposed to the motives of the employer (Turner, I. 2009).

Besides the fear of losing out a meritorious and diligent employee, an employer also wants to avoid unnecessary costs of litigation and payment of damages in order to pay the incentives. Such discrimination especially in the form of age might even cause an employee to produce poor quality and hence quit the job. This would once again compel the employer to find a new candidate for that post and therefore incur additional hiring costs.

For the purpose of reducing the likelihood of discrimination the employer should undertake the following measures:

  • Adoption and implementation of an effective equal employment opportunity (EEO) and anti-harassment policy
  • Providing appropriate training to the management as well as the other employees and making them aware of discrimination, diversity and harassment.
  • Timely evaluation of the managers and compensating them on the basis of how far they comply with their policies
  • Undertaking certain mentoring programs, which may guide the managers to perform without discrimination

The EEO should include the commitment and obligations of the employer to comply with the federal laws against discrimination. The types of discrimination and harassment should be specified within the programs. This also includes the areas of employment where the prohibition of discrimination is applicable. The type of conduct, which is not appropriate, should be specified such that later, there would be no misunderstandings about misconduct or discrimination. It should be specified and maintained that anyone who fails to comply with the law or violates the policy of the company would be subject to strict disciplinary action. (Crosby, Stockdale, and Ropp, 9; Fishbein and Ajzen)

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The present study will be based on the information on each of the variables under consideration received through sample survey. For the present study, it would not be quite appropriate to base the study on some secondary data as ready made data on age discrimination in workplace is hard to be found. Hence the present study has to be relied on primary survey. The most appropriate way of conducting the present study is to carry out a qualitative as well as quantitative survey simultaneously to establish a relationship between age discrimination and performance of the company. For the purpose of this study information will be gathered in Wal-mart to measure each of the variables under consideration.

To conduct statistical analysis, a regression will be run where calculated age discrimination in organization will serve as independent variable, and the corporate performance will be represented in terms of dummy variable.

Study Participants

For the present case study, Wal- mart stores will be considered. During the selection process the method of stratified sampling will be used so that various age groups correspond to having senior positions. Efforts will be made to extract information regarding their own experience of promotions as well as their peers.

Design and Data Collection Methods

As the survey is qualitative in nature, interviews will be conducted with the selected employees. Interview is considered to be a very useful and powerful tool for conducting researches, particularly qualitative researches. During any research, interviews of the selected people are conducted to find out what a person actually think regarding a particular issue. Interviews enable researchers to access the perspective of the people who are being interviewed. Through interviews it is possible to find out certain important things relevant to the studies that can not be obtained or observed directly. Along with these during conducting interviews efforts should be made to make them convinced about the fact that the information they are provided will not be disclosed to anyone. One of convincing them is to conduct interviews in the presence of some members of corporate authorities whom they rely on (Fishbein, Martin., & Ajzen, I.1975).

Data Analysis Plan

After collecting relevant information while conducting the qualitative survey, comparisons have to been made between the groups under consideration regarding each of the aspects under consideration. To form an average idea regarding each of these aspects for each of the groups under consideration, answers of all the participants of each group was analyzed (Fishbein, Martin., & Ajzen, I.1975).

Expected results and discussion

If the results show that average age discrimination and awareness among the employees about discrimination and corporate performance. Along with this if regression coefficient for the dummy variable under consideration is found to be statistically significant then it would directly imply that corporate world will experience less discrimination if comprehensive corporate world have started reduce age discrimination (Crosby, F. J., Stockdale, M. S. and Ropp S. A. ,2007).

Conclusion And Recommendation

Young generation have more than one opening to approach for justice either to the court of law or to the superiors in their firm. However there are several social dangers, which sometimes prevent them from coming up with their problem. There was a wide gap between the reporting discrimination and the number of law cases file or claims filed. When the participants were asked to imagine themselves as victims of discrimination, the results were quite different from the reality. Most of the people actually abstain from facing the discriminators. Despite this, social costs involving embarrassment of the victims, fear of getting into problem by standing against someone in a powerful position and above all fear of losing a job or rather a economic support, might prevent the people from voicing the cases of discrimination. Thus, I find that despite the modernization of thoughts and the time the position of young people at the workplace are yet to improve in terms of discrimination. The federal law has rightly stood against this issue and the employers should therefore continue with their efforts to take measures against discrimination (Crosby, F. J., Stockdale, M. S. and Ropp S. A 2007).

Works cited

Bernbach, J. (1996). Job Discrimination: How to Fight, How to Win. New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks.

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Crosby, F. J., Stockdale, M. S. and Ropp S. A (2007); Sex Discrimination in the Workplace: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

Fishbein, Martin., & Ajzen, I.(1975); Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1975.

Larwood, L. & Gattiker, U. E.(1985); Rational bias and interorganizational power in the employment of management consultants. Group and Organization Studies, 1985, 10, 3-17.

Larwood, L., Gutek, B. & Gattiker, U. E.(1984); Perspectives on institutional discrimination and resistance to change. Group and Organization Studies, 9, 333-352.

Repa, B. K. (2007). Your Rights in the Workplace. Boston: Nolo.

Turner, I. (2009); Developments in Workplace Protections for LGBT Employees, 2008, Web.

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