Age is not the issue - ageism is 3

December 22, 2006

Olivia Besly, human resources manager of a proudly "age-positive" institution (Working Knowledge, December 8), counsels against rejecting a balding job applicant on the assumption that he will retire soon. "They may be only 55 and planning to work for the next ten years," she warns.

Why only ten years? And would it be all right to reject him if he really was as old as he looks? This implicitly endorses a most blatant and objectionable form of age discrimination, namely forcing people to retire at 65 even if they are performing as well as younger colleagues. Why should it be considered acceptable to hire and fire people purely on grounds of age, though not race or sex?

Andrew M. Colman
Leicester University

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