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Ageism: Combating Discrimination in the Workplace
In an investigation conducted in the Fall of 1999, researchers found striking evidence supporting the notion that age discrimination, or "ageism"--a term coined by Robert Butler in 1976--is far more pervasive than previously understood. In the article, which focused on ageism in the workplace, business students in their 20s were engaged in an exercise making decisions that affect employees of a fictitious company. These employees were described as "younger" or "older" and were then presented with various scenarios, such as whether to retrain or replace a worker whose skills had become obsolete. Results showed many students made decisions that were remarkably biased (Reio & Sanders-Reio, 1). Based on findings, the article suggested that employees are faced with resistance in career advancement as early as 40 years of age and offered surprising statistics relative to age-related stereotypes (Reio et al., 2). Using a very comprehensive approach, it goes further to illustrate common myths regarding older workers, depicting them as "less energetic, technically outdated, slow, less productive, rigid, unwilling to change, uninterested in learning, less innovative, technology- and computer-phobic, susceptible to physical ailments and less able to learn." …
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