Friday, October 29, 2010

Bisom-Rapp, Frazer and Sargeant on Decent Work, Older Workers and Vulnerability in the Economic Recession

Age discrim1 Susan Bisom Rapp (Thomas Jefferson), Andrew Frazer (Wollongong (AU)), and Malcolm Sargeant (Middlesex (UK)) have posted on SSRN their forthcoming article in the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Review: Decent Work, Older Workers and Vulnerability in the Economic Recession: A Comparative Study of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Here is the abstract:

In countries with aging populations, the global recession presents unique challenges for older workers, and compels an assessment of how they are faring. To this end, the International Labour Organization's concept of decent work provides a useful metric or yardstick. Decent work, a multifaceted conception, assists in revealing the interdependence of measures needed to secure human dignity across the course of working lives. With this in mind, in three English-speaking, common law countries (Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), this Article considers several decent work principles applicable to older workers and provides evaluations in light of them. Relevant to the analysis is the role workplace law plays in each country in ameliorating or exacerbating older worker vulnerability.

Although the recession affected each country to a different extent, and the response of national employers to the crisis varied significantly, the effects of the financial crisis on older workers are strikingly similar. The recession has affected the quality of work for older workers. For many, employment has become more fragile, inconstant and insecure. In all three nations, the recession also compromised older workers' ability to plan for and secure a key decent work precept, a dignified retirement.

Yet stronger national differences emerge when evaluating labor regulations affecting older workers. While all three countries prohibit age discrimination to varying degrees, such prohibitions by themselves do not greatly contribute to employment security for older workers. General labor standards, such as those restricting termination and layoff or requiring severance pay, and the provision of a robust safety net, are just as important in forestalling older worker vulnerability. By using decent work as a touchstone, and looking broadly at the intersecting factors that contribute to older worker insecurity, the outlines of needed policy reforms become clear.

The use of the decent work rubric looks to be a truly illuminating way for determining proper policy responses to help older workers impacted by the Great Recession of the last few years.  Just another a great example of how comparative collaborations and papers can go a long way in helping to alleviate what ails us on the domestic labor and employment law front.

PS

Decent Work, Older Workers and Vulnerability in the Economic Recession: A Comparative Study of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/laborprof_blog/2010/10/bisom-rapp-frazer-and-sargeant-on-decent-work-older-workers-and-vulnerability-in-the-economic-recess.html

Employment Discrimination, International & Comparative L.E.L., Scholarship | Permalink

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Comments

With regard to older workers with gray hair, I could not help but recall an advertisement currently being aired on U.S. television for the Just for Men hair coloring product. Every time I see the advertisement, I can't help but think of the ADEA. The commercial, for those of you fortunate enough to have NOT seen it, is for the "touch of gray" hair coloring product.

Scene: Two men are sitting in an office apparently interviewing for one job. One has brown hair, untouched by the ravages of time. The other has gray hair. Two management individuals are discussing which applicant to hire. One management individual comments, referring to the man with gray hair, that the company needs his experience. Apparently concerned by the gray hair, the other management individual then remarks that the company needs the "energy" of the applicant with no gray hair, whom I think we will presume is intended to be viewed as considerably younger. (I think the two applicants are actually images of the same man.) Thanks to the "touch of gray" product, the two applicants then morph into one another in some Grecian mythological feat, with the result that the formerly gray-haired applicant now has mainly brown hair with just a "touch of gray" indicating that, while he is experienced, he will not collapse from fatigue during a business call. If you are extremely bored I'm sure the video is on You Tube.

Posted by: John C-O | Oct 30, 2010 5:04:06 PM

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