Are older workers uncomfortable with workplace language?

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Some older employees feel uncomfortable with the language of their younger counterparts in the workplace, diversity and inclusion professionals told the UK parliament.

Arbitration service Acas’ Julie Dennis told the women and equalities select committee that older workers report being “taken aback” at how younger workers speak, reported The Telegraph.

“[They] are using language now that many of us would not deem appropriate in the workplace,” she said.

But a senior policy officer at the Trades Union Congress, Hugh Robertson, said “language evolves. That change is a part of life.”

Still, what does not change is the fact that any offensive terminology has no place at work.

"This is not about generational understanding, it is about respect for your colleagues, whether young or old.”

Other issues concerning older workers were discrimination and hesitation to take advantage of professional opportunities.

Discrimination against older workers can come through wording used in advertisements. For example, Elizabeth Prochaska, legal director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, cited the use of “sparky office manager” as being ageist and sexist.

Another concern was the reluctance of older people to apply to jobs out of worry they may be crowding out a younger candidate for it, even as they are suitable for it.

“Actually you'll be thinking 'I'm an older worker so I don't have the skills to do this job'” Charity Age UK’s Christopher Brooks told the MPs.
 

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