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Protecting workers against age discrimination

It appears that baby boomers are leaving the workforce quickly in order to retire. According to one statistic, approximately 10,000 baby boomers are retiring each day in the United States. Faced with instances of age discrimination that make it harder for baby boomers to find work, it's clear to see why this older demographic is choosing to leave the workforce, but at what cost? Many are questioning to what degree the baby boomer exit is hurting business and productivity levels.

Retiring at the age of 65 has been standard practice since the Great Depression, when the government was trying induce job openings for the younger population, which it was believed was more productive at the time. A lot of older workers were refusing to leave their jobs at the time until President Franklin Roosevelt offered up the Social Security Act in 1935. The Social Security Act created the monthly pension that we have come to rely on today -- and supplies millions of Americans with their monthly retirement checks each month. Thus began the idea that it was appropriate to quit work during the final stage of life and enjoy an easier, more leisurely life.

In today's baby boomer exit from the workplace, it may be a different story. Older workers have institutional knowledge and a great deal of experience that they are taking with them out of the workplace. This idea appears to be substantiated by a recent study that points to a 5.5 percent decrease in per capita domestic product growth for every 10 percent increase in persons over 60 years of age in a state.

Studies show that workers who are 50 years of age offer a 60 percent high rate of productivity than workers who are 20 years of age, so why does age discrimination still persist? Partly, the reason why age discrimination persists is because we allow it to persist. Indeed, the more Florida residents who step forward and fight back against age discrimination with employment lawsuits, the more attention will be brought to this issue. In turn, lawmakers will be more likely to create legislation that offers stronger protection against age discrimination and other types of employment discrimination.

Source: jacksonville.com, "Work Wanted: Baby boomers retiring, but have a lot to offer," Candace Moody, Aug. 24, 2016

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