It has come to my attention very recently that a new law has come to pass in Britain. It deals with equal opportunity among the workforce. It is the new rule that potential employess can not be discriminated against based on their age. An 18-year old has as much of a chance to apply for a position as a 30-year old or a 60-year old. Age doesn’t matter anymore. In theory this sounds like a dream come true, in reality this poses a problem since most young people are under-trained and lack any ambition or drive, while old people are, you know, old.
This new rule joins the pile of laws that were already passed on equal opportunities – to create the inability to discriminate based on sex, race, sexuality, religion, disability and now age. Let’s have a look at all of these up-close:
- Sex, even though most agree that this law is fair, there are still male-only and female-only jobs – not to mention that women on average have lower wages. The one rule that is controversial in my eyes is that of the maternity leave (paid no less) – do men have the opportunity to receive a 9-month paid leave to care about their children, with the job waiting on them when they decide to return?
- Race, I do not know how well this one is being applied outside of Britain. In Britain it is common to have multi-ethnic and multi-cultural work-force – particularly in London. There is a problem of positive discrimination though – white people tend to be discriminated against. Looking for a job recently I even saw an advert claiming that a governmental agency is looking for an ethnic employee since they are underrepresented. Do I get it right that it’s OK to employ anyone, but sometimes white is worse than the other colours?
- Sexuality, right on! I wish that this one was enforced more than it currently is. Let’s give it some time.
- Religion, controversy number one! There was a massive scandal in Britain yesterday when a Muslim police officer rejected an order to guard the Israel embassy. It posed a question as to how exactly is it viable to mix personal beliefs, cultural and religious conditioning and a public-service job such as policing. To believe that all police officers have to decondition themselves and enter service blank and empty is to be rather naive.
- Disability, hmmm. In theory this isn’t so bad. In practice employers can not discriminate based on any physical or psychological disability or deficiency. But what if the job criteria can not possibly be met because of the disability? Not to mention that disabled individuals have the right to have a mandatory interview for any council work placement in Britain provided they feel that they are suitable for it. They do not have to go through the process of shortlisting as all the other applicants. Fair? Hardly.
So what are we left with? Is it just me or do other people get the idea that the only group that is being discriminated against are the ‘majority’. White, heterosexual, atheistic, healthy and reasonably aged. I do not say this out of bitterness or because I feel discriminated against – I don’t. It’s simply the case that this political trend poses some serious questions for the future.
For those of you willing to read a funny book about this area I would like to recommend Incompetence by Rob Grant, the creator of Red Dwarf. It is a book about a society that doesn’t discriminate against anything – including stupidity. This trend creates a picture of a society where all work is being done by the people least suited for it, which creates numerous amusing situations of which the author informs us with great skill, flair and humour. A definite must for any comedy fans.