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AGEISM AND ITS IMPACT ON THE CORPORATE SECTOR OF THE LEGAL FRATERNITY

By

Snehashish Bhattacharya & Darshan Pal Singh, B.A.,LL.B, from Lloyd Law College.


Ageism is stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups based on their age. The concept of ageism has been a perpetual social taboo over the legal fraternity, wherein it has led to a discriminatory mentality between both young and already well-established lawyers. At the point when Robert Butler instituted 'ageism', he characterized it as a “procedure of methodical generalizing or victimization of individuals since they are old, similarly as prejudice and sexism achieve with skin shading and sexual orientation. Ageism permits the supposed younger population to consider themselves as more established just because of their; consequently, they stop relating to their seniors as people." (as referred to in Butler, 1975). He also characterized, in his definition, that “Old people are categorized as senile, rigid in thought and manner, old-fashioned in morality and skills”. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has characterized ageism as ‘mean’ and, to some degree, "an inclination to structure society dependent on a suspicion that everybody is youthful, in this manner neglecting to react fittingly to the genuine needs of more established persons."


Ageism as generalizations (a general expression which is a form of abstraction whereby common properties of specific instances are formulated as general concepts or claims.). Anyway, ageism likewise works as more established people's indistinguishable and social prohibition. Because the "young age" is treated as the standard and the more esteemed of the population. The degree of which extends to individuals who do not fit the apparent social standard, being treated as "less" and may also incorporate less esteemed and less noticeable actions from the aforementioned “standard”. They become assigned to a below-average status; their requirements and their lives are treated as though they don't make much difference.


The explanation behind this article is to dissect what factors shape our individual and collective view about age and to research the impact of this on the framework where the young and budding lawyers spend significant time, with the perspectives of authorities who detail open procedures. With society developing at an unprecedented rate, the uprightness of the authentic calling, similarly as other help orchestrated purposes for a living will depend upon the constituent, mindsets, feelings, and motivations of those individuals who, through their associations, can characterize the open methodology.


The Basic Impact:

The mental result of age separation and the half-hearted impact of social help have led to an increase in agony among the aged population. Research and statistics suggest that age discrimination acts as a stressor, with negative effects on job and life satisfaction. Ageism has led to the thinking that the aged population has decreased the overall efficiency and productivity, with an increase in consumption of time, decrease in collective rational decisions. The younger population has also been led into the delusion that the decision lacks the modern touch and modern rationale. The concept of ageism has decreased the value of perceived authority, prestige of the job, and has affected the commitment. The World Assembly on Ageing was held in Vienna from July 26 to August 6, 1982, wherein an International Plan of Action on Ageing was adopted.


Existing Situation in India:

Here in India there are no codified laws, national or local, that directly deal with the issue of age discrimination. The Constitution of India guarantees certain fundamental rights to the citizens of India, including protection to individuals from discrimination only on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Age is not included. These fundamental rights are available only against the State. Not only does the omission of age affect and aged citizen on day to day basis, but it also affects the very legal system of the country.

Nonetheless, Art. 41, Art. 46 are part of Chapter IV, i.e., Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution. The Directive Principles, as expressed in Article 37, are not enforceable by any courtroom. Be that as it may, Directive Principles force positive commitments/obligations on the state, i.e., what it ought to do. The Directive Principles have been pronounced to be essential in the administration of the nation, and the state has been set under a commitment to apply them in making laws. The courts cannot uphold a Directive Principle as it doesn't make any justifiable right for any individual. The Government of India endorsed the National Policy for Older Persons on January 13, 1999, to quicken government assistance quantifies and enable the old in manners advantageous to them. Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is a restricted act that only talks about the proper legal remedy to the elderly on grass-root family basis. This act is absent of any work abuse done to the elderly in the corporate sector.


The Impact on The Corporate Sector:

One of the biggest effects of ageism has been seen in the corporate sector of the legal system. The big corporate houses and firms have adopted a notion wherein young lawyers who can devote more hours are chosen over experienced ones. The idea being the adoption has two main reasons:(A) this process decreases the overall expense as the new appointee agrees to work at a lower salary. (B) This idea instills a feeling among the employers that they can be easily done away with. It creates a sense of fear and hence instills the idea of working to stay employed. This method decreases interest, satisfaction perceived, and the commitment level of the aged as well as the young. The aged are affected through the idea of him/her being a pawn, a mere employee in the firm, with the talents being neglected along with compassion, hard work, and time devoted to the firm. The notion also brings in another issue with itself, the issue of manufacturing consent among the newly appointed. The newest member starts with the mindset that as the person before him/her was displaced; he/she could easily be done away with, but due to an opportunity of working for a reputed firm, they consent anyway. This leads to a decrease in the efforts, compassion, and proper mindset, thus creating a paradox. The existing economical crunch along with a constant notion of being ‘replaceable’ leads to inefficient working.


The basic issue that the legal fraternity faces is that a person cannot switch the area of expertise. For example, a legal advisor cannot switch to being a litigator, an advocate on record, a judge, or a professor in India with his discretion. To change his/her existing field, he/she has to follow proper structured procedures, with the criteria of achieving a master's in the field or require a doctorate in the area of their pursuit. Hence, the situation of unemployment creates issues not only for those in the corporate sector. It also threatens the idea of overcrowding in other sectors. A particular field is burdened with the enthusiast competing and others migrating. Thus, it leads to the creation of a sector with more to displace than actual required.


The quest for eradicating ageism will prompt the removal of the low and discriminative actions taken against the alleged 'aged population'; Courts, and case-law, accept a noteworthy activity in the progression of the resolution in the field of ageism and senior law. Regardless, and despite creating interest and consideration among various people regarding developing a solution for eradicating ageism inside the legal structure and overall human rights bodies, almost no definite outbreak has been coordinated for the field. The actions that prompt ageism, actions that tenaciously promote social untouchables, and create a sentiment out of line and contorts between the 'matured' and the 'youthful' population have prolonged implications for future practitioners. While in cases – as presented in the past – fragments fill in as perspectives of legal methodology, the issues cultivated due to ageism remain concerning at large.


To eradicate ageism, various measures must be taken. Probably the biggest advancement to annihilate ageism would be to exclude the age blockade put in by the corporate division. With these measures taken, proper upliftment will occur, while additionally boosting their ability. Another progression that can be taken is to ensure a proper work environment with customary consideration given to the individuals who face separation and any issue ought to be managed at the earliest opportunity.


Ageism: Paternalism and Prejudice.

https://via.library.depaul.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1755&context=law-review.

Equality and human rights commission.

https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/age-discrimination.

Reuters- Silicon Valley's ageist culture is bad for workers - and business

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-column-miller-aging/silicon-valleys-ageist-culture-is-bad-for-workers-and-business-idUSKBN0EG1ZM20140605

Information about the National Policy for older people.

http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/2054/Laws-for-Senior-citizens-in-India.html.

SURVEY OF ELDERLY AND THEIR LIVING CONDITITON.

https://nhrc.nic.in/sites/default/files/Project%20Report%20on%20the%20Rights%20of%20the%20Elderly_NUALS.pdf.