Age discrimination by employers represents just another not-so-overlooked effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past year, it seems that a growing number of older workers are being terminated or laid-off by employers for this reason.
COVID-19 seemingly provides employers with a cover or an excuse to kick more older workers to the curb. It is a philosophy that subscribes to reinstating younger workers from furloughs much swifter than the older workers. This should not happen.
Age discrimination is illegal
In the U.S., ageism has lived on in the workplace for a long time. Some employers that discriminate against older workers often do so by claiming they are an intellectual liability for being slow to adapt and learn. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, these employers seem even more committed to ageism.
They believe that, along with being considered an intellectual liability, older workers also are dismissed as a physical liability. These people are vulnerable to the virus and will potentially die, costing the company a lot more money along the way. So why not get rid of them? This mentality is just plain discriminatory and illegal.
Millions of older workers lost jobs
An estimated 3 million older U.S. jobs were lost through January, directly attributed to the pandemic-related recession, according to the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, the research arm of New York-based New School for Social Research.
The Schwartz Center also noted that the unemployment rates for workers who were 55 and older topped unemployment rates for mid-career workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There should be no excuses for age discrimination in the workplace. And the COVID-19 pandemic apparently has become a more convenient excuse for certain companies to push away older workers and insert younger ones. Confronting companies that subscribe to age discrimination is a battle worth fighting.