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Half the population are bullied ... most only recognize it when they read this

Bullying and age discrimination

If you're older than those around you, and especially if you're in work and over 40, chances are you'll eventually find yourself the target of age discrimination. With each reorganisation or restructuring, the probability that you'll be restructured and downsized will increase.

The majority (about 80%) of cases reported to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line and Bully OnLine involve people over 40. By that time, many people have reached the top of the pay scale and are therefore expensive. If they can be bullied out, the cost of redundancy can be avoided, and they can be replaced with two YECHies (people who are Young Enthusiastic and CHeap) at less than the cost of your salary who will work insane hours, do anything they're asked, and not ask awkward questions like "why are you demanding I work hours which breach the European Working Time Directive and cause injury to health?". Also, young recruits can be employed on short-term contracts and tedious things like annual leave, maternity leave, pension contributions, annual pay rises, union membership and sick pay can be substantially reduced or avoided.

In the UK, if you're bullied out of your job and you're over 40 the chances of obtaining another permanent full-time job, especially in the professions, are nearly zero. The UK government publishes monthly unemployment figures which show that "unemployment is at its lowest level ever", ie around 1.2 million. In truth, this figure is the number of people that qualify for job-seeker's allowance, the trendy name for dole money. The criteria for qualification are so tight that few people qualify, thus resulting in a low figure that can be trumpeted as a triumph for government policy. The true number of people of working age without a job is 4-6 million, possibly more. There are 2.5 million people between 50-65 without a job, but then I guess the difference between the government figure (1.2 million) and the real figure (6 million?) is made up of people who are "choosing not to work", isn't it?

Occasionally you might get bullied because you're "too young". This may happen when you join a group of older people whose comfort and security you unwittingly threaten with new ideas and new plans, especially if the group is entrenched. Established cliques may not appreciate a neophyte (new boy or girl) upsetting the status quo.

A report in 2001 by the Employers' Forum on Age titled Ageism: Too Costly to Ignore, revealed that the number of people between the ages of 50-64 who were not in work and not seeking work had increased by 125,000 in the last two years. The authors of the report estimate that the cost to the UK's GDP of these lost workers is around 31 billion.

Bully OnLine, a gold mine of insight and information on bullying and discrimination identifies the different types of harassment and bullying, and exposes the principal perpetrator, the serial bully. Everyone, whether subject to age discrimination or not (yet), knows at least one person in their life with the profile of the serial bully.

Have a look through this web site to recognise the bullies and bullying in your life ... start with Am I being bullied? then move on to What is bullying? To find out what you can do about bullying, click Action to tackle bullying. Have a look at the profile of the serial bully which is common to sociopathic managers, harassers, stalkers, rapists, violent partners, abusers, pedophiles, even serial killers of the organized kind.

If bullying and harassment have resulted in injury to health, commonly referred to as "stress", see the page on injury to health and the one on the psychiatric injury of trauma, a collection of symptoms congruent with the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.


The Campaign Against Age Discrimination in Employment at

You can subscribe to the free Senior Surfers Online Newsletter at

Ageism costing UK plc 31 billion a year says charity Age Concern.

Third Age Experts at

Third Age Employment Network via

40 Plus Recruitment via

Recruit Magazine at

Monster UK at

Senior Job Bank at

Renaissance Recruitment (Scotland and North of England) at

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