SENATOR Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday said that age discrimination in the workplace has risen, as young applicants are preferred by employers than the older applicants.

Estrada who is the chairperson of the Senate on labor, employment and human resources development, sponsored a bill, which penalizes discriminatory acts on the basis of age against workers and even job applicants.

"The jobs of older workers are vulnerable because, with their longer tenure and greater experience, they cost employers more in a tight economy," he said.

Estrada said older workers are stereotyped as slow and less accurate, which make employers question their productivity, while young workers are stereotyped as lacking in loyalty, unstable and inexperienced.

Committee Report 38 seeks the passage of the proposed act prohibiting the discrimination of the employment of any individual on the basis merely of age.

Senate Bill 29 authored by Senator Pia Cayetano enumerates the following acts as discriminatory:

- Print or publish any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications and discrimination of age

- Require the declaration of age or birthdate during the application process

- Decline any employment application because of the individual’s age

- Discriminate against an individual in terms of compensation, terms and conditions, or privileges of employment on account of such individual’s age

- Deny any employee’s promotions or opportunities for trainings on the basis of his/her age

- Forcibly lay off an employee merely because of old age

- Impose early retirement on the basis of such employee’s age

Violation of the act shall be punished with a fine of not less than 50,000 but not more than 500,000 or imprisonment term of three months up to two years, or both at the discretion of the court.

"I believe that every qualified individual needing a job must be given the chance to get employed based on his/her experience, qualification, competencies and potentials. With the increasing labor force, competition is high and inevitable but impartial treatment among the jobseekers possessing competencies that best fit the market demands must be observed," Estrada said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)