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Understanding The Impact Of Ageism

When you think of ageism in the workplace, you might think first of discrimination towards older employees, forgetting that, today, Millennials are the brunt of many supposedly innocent jokes. All kidding aside, ageism is wrong, no matter the target.

"I used to work for a major Canadian telcom. I had

a bulls eye on me. I was making a lot of money and

was in my fifties. It was inevitable that I'd be laid off."

One of the best examples of planned ageism in the workplace is the existence of an often unspoken rule or formula in HR. It goes something like, "80/50/30".

When a company looks to layoff, if an employee is earning over $80,000 a year, is over the age of 50, and has 30 years at the organization, that employee often ends up top of the list for termination.

While the numbers may have changed, the formula exists thus ageism is not only a regular business practise, it is seemingly acceptable.

Up to 91 percent of older people say they have experienced ageism, this according to a recent study by the University of Alberta. 98 percent of younger people admit to discriminatory thoughts or negative behaviour towards people who are older. There was no number available to the reverse; older people discriminating against youth.

“Ageism is now thought to be the most common form of prejudice, and the issue is, we don’t even recognize how prevalent it is and how impactful it is,” said Donna Wilson, a professor with the Faculty of Nursing at U of A, who researches ageing. “A lot of societies are really youth-oriented now and don’t really respect or care about older people.”

Wilson co-authored the study with fellow nursing professor Gail Low, also from U of A. Together, the two reviewed questionnaires by different researchers around the world that measured the prevalence of ageism.

In reviewing all ex