BY: Citizens Count
With fewer babies being born since the 1980s and people living longer, the older generation represents a large pool of potential employees in the United States. In fact, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont have the top three oldest populations in the country.
While lawmakers are considering many policies to meet the needs of the aging population, some question whether young employees need more protection.
Laws to protect against age discrimination
In 1967, the U.S. Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in order to protect older workers from discrimination. The act’s language specifically includes “any individual 40 years or older” within the protected class.
However, in a landmark 2004 lawsuit against General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the ADEA does not protect workers from reverse age discrimination. That means young workers do not have federal protection if they experience discrimination due to their age.
New Hampshire’s age discrimination laws are more encompassing in that they do not qualify a minimum or maximum age.
Reasons for bias against younger workers
Younger workers often have less experience than older workers, so some employers argue there is a good reason to favor older workers. Many of the concerns about young workers have sprung up around millennials (those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s). Critics say millennials are lazy, unreliable, and unwilling to follow company rules. Additionally they lack company loyalty, often job hopping within a short period of time.
Younger workers have something to contribute
Young workers say the claims against them are based on stereotypes and myths. The perception that they are quick to job hop is a result of their taking more time to settle down in their early work years. They bring energy and new ideas to the workplace, and in fact, provide a valuable resource to the older generation when it comes to integrating social media and the latest technology.
Do you think New Hampshire needs stronger protections against reverse age discrimination? Have you, or someone you know, experienced reverse age discrimination? Let us know.