Age Discrimination

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If you are treated unfairly by your employer, or disadvantaged because of your age, then you might have been the victim of age discrimination. This can happen to young and old alike, and shows a lack of consideration of the employee’s abilities and experience within the workplace.

There are certain laws regarding the National Minimum Wage and statutory redundancy payments, which are affected by the age of the employee in question. In these cases, this age-related difference is not classed as discriminatory.

If you feel that you are the victim of age discrimination then you may receive either compensation or a settlement sum from your employer. 

Legislation divides discrimination in the workplace up into various categories. See our introduction to read more about the different ways your age might be discriminated against in the workplace. 

Retirement

Up until October 2011, employment legislation included a compulsory retirement age of 65. This has now been abolished totally. 

Since the abolition of the Default Retirement Age (DRA), employers must now follow the same fair dismissal procedures to dismiss an older employee as they would with someone younger. Anything else is unfair dismissal and age-based discrimination.

Recruitment and selection

Age should never be a criteria in the selection of potential employees and should not be mentioned in job advertisements. The only exception to this is if the employer is attempting to redress an age imbalance among the workforce by encouraging applications from age groups who would not usually apply for the job in question. 

An employer is still required to receive details of an employee's age, but this should not factor into any employment decisions.

Medical advice

When an employee's fitness and ability is being evaluated for whatever reason, age should not be considered in such evaluations, nor in the method of evaluation. All physical tests must be the same for all employees, regardless of age.

Rewards

None of the terms of employment, particularly with regard to pay, may be related to the employee's age, but rather on their ability, performance and contribution.

Training and development

No employees may be excluded from any training or development programme based on their age. Any training programme must be all inclusive and available to all employees.

Promotion

No promotion or appraisal offered by the employer may be based on any protected characteristic such as age, this is an example of direct discrimination.

An action plan for employers

Review

An age audit should be conducted to gauge the level of equality already present.

The employer should then carefully examine all aspects of their company's people management, policies, practises and procedures to ensure that age discrimination does not and cannot take place, and should amend and update practise wherever necessary.

Policy

The employer should implement policy with a view to tackling age-based discrimination within their workplace - promoting equality, diversity and inclusion wherever possible. All managers and employees should have these policies explained to them and should be trained where relevant to do what they can to eliminate discrimination.

Where possible, all employers should try to avoid the use of a retirement age. If it is deemed absolutely necessary, then this necessity must be demonstrated so that it is clearly a legitimate provision and not a form of discrimination.

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