The issue of ‘age discrimination is not a new phenomenon. It has been in existence for hundreds of years. In many societies, people of old age have in most cases been vulnerable and treated with hostility. This hostility is still present in the world today as older people are still subject to unfair and inequitable treatment, especially in the work environment.
It appears that older employees, in contrast to younger employees, are usually at a disadvantage due to the stereotypes about how older workers are viewed. According to an interview based research on ageism involving 1843 people across the UK, it was revealed that ‘ageism’ is the most common form of discrimination suffered by people . The UK government are strongly against every form of discrimination including ‘ageism’ as they believe it to be a problem, claiming that it is “bad for the individual, bad for business and bad for the economy”. Additionally, an OECD report into ageing and employment policies in the UK identified age discrimination as a widely perceived problem.
Although there were no laws effectively introduced by the UK to tackle ageism in employment until October 2006, Other countries had a long time ago, found a way to confront/tackle ageism. For instance, the United States introduced the “Age Discrimination in Employment Act” in 1967, whilst Colorado effected a law to tackle discrimination of people within the age group 18-60. Across Europe, Spain appears to be the most equipped in protecting and caring for the rights of the older workers.
The Republic of Ireland only introduced age as a ground of discrimination in the year 1998, they also introduced the Equal Status Act in 2000, which was then revised in 2004. It is important to understand that the existence of legislation to tackle age discrimination in employment does not guarantee the overall elimination of age discriminition.
Over the previous years, there has been a huge increase in the awareness of diversity in the UK work environment, especially in the hospitality industry. With the huge increase in the global workforce, a more effective approach towards people is needed; the global market is rapidly changing and this brings about a huge revenue resource to the economy. Furthermore, diversity in the workforce is believed to be one of the most important drivers of the hospitality industry as people from different countries and backgrounds are always needed to communicate and serve the needs of different customers. This brings about recommendations that a more diverse workforce will contribute richly to the overall productivity of the whole industry.
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