The Need to Protect Our Aging Workforce
There was a time in the halcyon days when working for a company for 20 or 30 or more years engendered an implied reciprocal obligation of loyalty. If layoffs occurred, they were based on a last-in, first-out standard as a way to communicate to a workforce that people mattered. Workers with longevity felt secure knowing that as long as they worked hard, they weren't going to be treated as expendable cogs -- easily disposed of when it served the bottom line to nix someone at their pay grade.
This unwritten rule of workplace morality promised workers that they would not be set adrift during their most vulnerable time of life -- before they qualified for retirement benefits but after they were past the age of reasonable job mobility.
But let's face it; those days are gone. Now, only workers lucky enough to be in unions, or who are protected by tenure or a civil-service-type system -- where there are legal constraints on ousting staff with seniority -- enjoy that kind of job security.
Then came the roaring recession, and the older workers who got laid off during this Darwinian epoch have found that getting another job is ridiculously hard. In a study titled "The New Unemployables: Older Job Seekers Struggle to Find Work During the Great Recession" by
Yes, that's age discrimination, and, yes, it's illegal. But the conservatives on the
Up until the ruling last year in Gross v.
Now, back to
Once again, it comes down to what kind of country we want to be.
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The Need to Protect Our Aging Workforce
(c) 2010 Robyn Blumner. Tribune Media Services, Inc.