One of the Greatest Myths Our Lawmakers Have Created

Posted: March 30, 2007 in Social Justice

Over 11 years ago, the July 1995 edition of Money Magazine ran an article entitled, “You’re Too Damn Old”; in which they exploded the myth that companies don’t discriminate on the basis of age. In the article they recognized the great difficulty in getting legal redress when one is discriminated against; based on age.

I have seen two notorious cases of people winning against former employers in age discrimination cases since then. One was a man – and I can’t even be sure he won the case; it was only noted in an article in the newspaper before the results were known – sued K-Mart for flagrant violation of the law. The other was detailed in an article in a magazine devoted to retirees. It told about a guy who had overwhelming evidence against a company and won. The second piece included the confirmation about how hard it is to sue and win cases against employers.

Employing cynical practices, companies manage to cook up excuses to use when they either want to keep from hiring, and/or releasing, older workers. In an age of a shrinking work force, younger people, who have the power to hire and fire, recognize that they have to get rid of older workers to make room for those they are more comfortable working with.

The absolutely best boss I ever had was self-confident enough to eschew bias against me as an older worker and hired me based on my abilities. The only way I got that job was by proving my abilities as a temp; through a temp agency. I seriously doubt I would have survived the road-blocks the personnel office erected in order to discriminate.

The truth is bias against older workers is endemic. The folly of this bias was portrayed in an episode of Murphy Brown. One of the secretaries Murphy had was an older lady who had an uncanny Radar O’Reilly ability to anticipate what Murphy wanted done and be well on the way towards already getting it done, or completing the task before Murphy asked her to do it. In fact there are many workers who are mature enough, because of work experiences, to be self starters and work with minimum direction. The problem becomes a case when a supervisor has too many self starters; and loses their position when their bosses recognize that they aren’t needed.

So, the real culprit that was starting to become a problem in the mid ‘90’s, is the shrinking work force. It is one of, what Pope John Paul II listed as one of the evils of capitalism. When I googled that phrase an article was cited that was published in The Pacific News Service entitled “John Paul II, a Truly Global Pope”. You have to be patient when you read it; the reference to the evils of capitalism is in the 12th of 13 paragraphs. But your patience is rewarded. It is truly a remarkable article: an excellent apology in support of my idea of worthwhile principles of the Democratic Party. Of course my idea mostly comes from reading Garrison Keillor’s Home Grown Democrat[1].

The confluence of this Democrat and a pope’s goal might seem strange to anyone who is biased, either for or against anything Catholic. I rather think that bias is a product of cynicism; or the other way around. Maybe they are close relatives. My revival of the importance of the Papacy in the modern world[2] came when the last Pope died and was succeeded by the present one. The vast coverage by the main stream media was the source of this old fallen-away-Catholic’s tug towards returning to the fold. But, that is another subject; one that I might address in another essay.

[1] Viking. A member of Penguin Group (USA) inc. 375 Hudson Street, New York, N. Y. 10014

[2] This would probably draw an argument from a certain cousin when I cite what the Pope says. He reminds me that Catholics don’t have to agree with every thing the Pope says. Which is also the subject of another essay: how religious people accept only what they want from religious sources, especially The Bible. I think the essay is already in my collection under “Moral Absolutism vs. Moral Relativism”; or not. When I search my desk-top I come up with three essays, none of them exclusively talking about this subject. Actually it was the subject of a message to my cousin years ago and was lost on one of the 2 hard drives I had it saved on.


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