No employee or potential employee should receive less favourable treatment or consideration because of of their age or be disadvantaged by any conditions of employment any practice or requirements that cannot be justified. This law is governed by the Equality Act 2010 and covers age discrimination in recruitment, promotion, terms and conditions of employment, training, disciplinary and grievance procedures, dismissals and redundancy.
The right not to be discriminated against on grounds of age will apply to all employees regardless of their age. Younger employees can suffer from age based assumptions too.
Age discrimination can take the following forms:-
Direct Age Discrimination
This is where a person (A) treats another (B), because of their age, less favourably than A treats or would treat others, unless it can be justified by the employer as a “proportionate means to achieving a legitimate aim”.
The law on retiring employees changed with effect from 6th April 2011. Specifically, the exemption which allowed employers to retire employees at the age of 65 or above was abolished by the Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age) Regulations 2011.
The law is now such that requiring an employee to retire (or refusing employment to a job applicant) because they have reached a particular age, whether 65 or any other age, will be unlawful unless the employer can show it was a “proportionate means to achieve a legitimate aim”.
Indirect Age Discrimination
This is where an employer applies a provision, criterion or practice equally to all ages but it puts or would put people of the same age group at a particular disadvantage when compared with others or puts a person of that age at that disadvantage and it cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
A person (A) harasses another (B) if:-
(a) A engages in unwanted conduct related to B’s age; and
(b) the unwanted conduct has the purpose or effect of (i) violating B’s dignity or (ii) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.
A person (A) victimises another person (B) if A subjects B to a detriment because B raises a grievance about age discrimination, brings a claim of age discrimination, complains about or alleges age discrimination or gives evidence or information in relation to someone else’s age discrimination claim or because A believes that B has done or may do one of those things. So if for example you are denied promotion or training because of your involvement in a complaint of age discrimination, this may be considered victimisation.
If an allegation is made in bad faith or false evidence or information is given this may mean you are not protected.
If you think that you have suffered any of the above kinds of age discrimination then contact us for an initial telephone consultation to assess the merits of your case.