Working people over the age of 55 out of the workplace is ridiculous, and suicidal. Applying Affirmative action as an excuse is criminal.

How often do companies decide to cull employees over the age of 55 so that they can bring younger people into the workplace? Often there is a more sinister objective than simply discriminating against an employee on the basis of age. In this country these people are sacrificed to Affirmative Action, where the result is a lowering of competency levels as a trade for political correctness.

My experiences of this disease in more than 180 000 companies across 37 different Industries in this country surely allows me the following observation:

It is not incumbent on companies to sacrifice their competent people for the unknown. It is however easy and opportunistic. Bad, lazy, incompetent and unimaginative managers make convenient decisions all of the time, irrespective of the consequence for the person or their family. If Managers were able to manage performance properly, they would not need to hide behind an arbitrary retirement age to weed out those who are dead weight and non-productive.

The reality is that all of the research shows that we are living longer. The new retirement age is 70 and not 65. We are able and capable of continuing to contribute in our jobs for a much longer period of time. The problem arises when companies, which we often literally give our lives to, prematurely, sacrifice us. That is when we see the rapid onset of aging and with it various complications, consigning us to that rubbish heap for which society has no use, and in-fact becoming a financial burden on that society. Our Jewish Community, as diminutive as it is, cannot afford for companies, especially Jewish ones, to create this scale of financial burden, which we as the community will inevitably be left with, because those companies choose, for whatever reason to be opportunistic. To take the easy way out.

What I am advocating is not easy. However, in our particular community, it is essential. The fact is that the majority of our competent young and middle-aged workforce is diminishing. Ours is becoming an older community, for very apparent reasons. Our community is today, more job dependent rather than independently wealthy, than it has ever been.  We cannot afford as a community to be politically correct and literally sacrifice that community in the process.

A society has lost its soul, its godliness when it treats those who should be revered, respected and cherished, as dispensable commodities. There is no place for the heartless animals that apply principles of ageism in an indiscriminate fashion in the workplace, which are simply “following rules”.

This is not good Management or HR practice, it is opportunistic weakness. If anything, we as a Jewish Community should shun the excuse of simply “following rules” and look for every excuse to be more creative and vital in our reasoning.

I can understand, while not condoning the practice of sacrificing our parents, our teachers and our mentors that occurs in Industry, and at a push even in Jewish companies. However, what is incomprehensible to me is why Jewish Community Organisations and NGO’s choose to apply the same policy of ageism and discrimination? Why do they then compound their actions by also applying Affirmative Action when it comes to replacing those people who have reached that arbitrary retirement age who they have mercilessly simply kicked out?  Jewish Organisations set up for the benefit of the Community, licensed as charity organisations can easily justify employing Jewish people. They can also justify employing Jewish people over the age of 65. The age of retirement is set by the organisation and not the Government.

The questions to be asked are who are those in charge of these organisations to be making these decisions? What is their experience, their deep seat of learning? Perhaps, what is their personal interest in so doing? What do they have personally to gain?

In my two previous articles it is apparent that what I am calling for is a strategic focus, as with our youth and our disabled, also on this particular vulnerable group. We need a social compact between Jewish Leaders, Jewish Businesses, Jewish Community NGO’s, and these vulnerable groups themselves. We need a plan, and then to systematically implement, measure and adjust the programme on a long-term basis.

What we do not have the luxury of doing however is sitting back and doing nothing!