Age discrimination

Acas has launched new guidance to help guard against age discrimination at work.

Age discrimination – treating someone unfairly because of age – is illegal. Age is one of the nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. In the workplace, there are key high risk areas in which age discrimination could occur, including recruitment, training and promotion, performance management and retirement. These are important areas for employers to keep under review. Making assumptions about capability or behaviour on the grounds of age, known as ‘stereotyping’, is another area where employers could potentially leave themselves open to discrimination claims.

Acas deals with such misconceptions as the idea that talking to employees over 50 about future work plans could be discriminatory. There are in fact some occasions – specific and limited – where different treatment because of age can be lawful. For example, there is no longer a set retirement age in most jobs, and employers should not assume that someone is retiring or suggest that they do so. On the other hand, any employee can legitimately be asked about their work plans for the future – whatever their age. More advice is here bit.ly/1OHy3by.