Age discrimination is a global phenomenon and perpetuates unfair, unjust and untrue stereotypes of seniors. Corporations think they are saving money by replacing older workers with younger ones. Cheaper doesn't mean better. Widespread lawsuits claiming and proving ageism are a way seniors can fight age discrimination and change laws.
“OK, boomer!” is one of the most disrespectful sayings I’ve heard in many years, coming from those lacking compassion and empathy, spewed with a sarcastic tone of condescension, disdain, hostile put-downs, and grating derision. How many seniors have heard and experienced ageism? Too many. Seniors unite!
I await the day when the speakers of that phrase turn 50 or 60 and face ageist attitudes themselves – when people think you’re “over the hill” or that you’re slow, senile, stupid, obsolete, ugly, and/or deaf. Or that you’re passé, useless, out of it, have dementia or Alzheimer’s, and that you should just roll over and die.
Seniors say it enrages them, retorting:
“Our generation stopped the Vietnam War by sit-ins and protesting!”
“We introduced holistic health - herbs, vitamins, yoga, acupuncture, meditation, and chiropractic.”
“We smoked grass, now it’s legal, so we paved the way.”
“CBD oil has medicinal qualities, like treating nausea for chemotherapy, calming anxiety, or as a sleep aid, so we were right.”
Ageism also comes from ruthless corporations, who make money their god, thinking they will lower wages and health costs, increase production, and speed up assembly lines by firing older workers, replacing them with younger ones. Some businesses have violated state and federal employment laws, ignored FMLA protections for employees, and done unethical, illegal and immoral acts, all just to save money. Many have banned unions and resent employees organizing, whom they target as "troublemakers."
Corporations attempt to eliminate those they identify as “disposable people” and seniors are targeted. Sound familiar? History recounts chilling tales of genocide, racism, and ethnic cleansing. Remember a small skirmish in Europe and Japan called World War II?
Many seniors take jobs after they retire, like professors, business consultants, or teachers. Many young people ignore the wisdom, experience, guidance, financial success of seniors. While at the same time other seniors find their pensions cut, benefits and insurance lowered or eliminated, and their bonuses or stock options lowered or ended. Some companies fire seniors right before their retirement date so they leave with nothing.
Companies label this “corporate restructuring” - a thinly veiled ploy to fire seniors – and it’s pure ageism.
Many times corporations hire younger people for cheaper labor. The top executives mistakenly think that youth will guarantee health, vigor, speed, and productivity, when in fact, many younger people are out drinking, barhopping, taking drugs, smoking weed, and come to work tired and hungover, which affects their productivity, decision-making, and reflex reactions on the job.
For companies with assembly lines, accidents can be dangerous and costly, with lives of both employees and consumers at stake when car fires and malfunctions instigate product liability lawsuits.
Cutting costs can be “penny wise, dollar foolish”-totaling millions and billions of dollars for the mistakes that management and untrained, inexperienced, inept, young and/or hungover workers make when replacing experienced seniors. Younger doesn’t mean better. It may just mean cheaper. When you make money your only god, you're on the road to perdition.
Dr. Linnda Durré, Licensed Psychotherapist, is an expert witness, psychotherapist, family counselor, intern supervisor, international speaker, author, business consultant, adjunct college professor, and a magazine, Internet, and newspaper columnist. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and small businesses. With over 44 years of experience, she consults to attorneys and has been qualified as an expert witness in six (6) states - Florida, California, Arkansas, Georgia, Connecticut, and Washington - in the areas of, Personal Injury, PTSD, Family and Couples Counseling, Divorce, Child Custody, Drug and Alcohol Counseling, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination, Relocation, and Sexual Abuse by Therapists. Her 400-page doctoral dissertation and research in the latter area was cited to pass legislation in several states.
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