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At Kew Law our specialist team of solicitors has the knowledge and expertise to provide you with advice on any issues of age discrimination in the workplace. We can assist you with any age discrimination claim you may have against your employer.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 specifies that it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee or job seeker due to their age.

There are two types of discrimination specified in the Equality Act 2010 which relate to the workplace:

      1. Direct discrimination

This type of discrimination involves treating someone less favourably as a result of:

  • Their actual age – direct discrimination
  • Their perceived age – direct discrimination by perception
  • The age of someone with whom they associate – direct discrimination by association

Age discrimination laws protect both older and younger employees. An employer, for example, cannot dismiss an older worker because the employee is perceived to be ‘past it’, nor can they reject an application from a younger candidate on the assumption that they lack experience.

      2. Indirect discrimination

Discrimination whereby a specific procedure, policy or practice in the workplace disadvantages people of a certain age.

For example, treatment which seems neutral at first glance but puts people of a certain age or age group at a substantial disadvantage compared to others (unless it stands up to objective justification).

Older employees are further protected by a new retirement notification procedure which must be followed in all cases.

The Equality Act 2010 specifies that there are no upper age limits with regard to redundancy and unfair dismissal.

An employer should ensure they have appropriate policies in place to prevent issues of age discrimination in all areas relevant to employees, including:

  • Pay
  • Recruitment
  • Employment terms and conditions
  • Training and development
  • Eligibility for promotion
  • Discipline and grievance
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Dismissal

What is the punishment for breaking age discrimination laws?

If an employer is found to have broken age discrimination laws then compensation is unlimited, which means that tribunals can make awards based on the actual loss an individual suffers as a result of discrimination, rather than a token sum.

Is there a justification for breaking age discrimination laws?

There is a defence to direct age discrimination. Provided that the employer can show that the discrimination was a proportionate means to achieving a legitimate aim there will be no age discrimination. This provides some protection to employers.

If you feel you have suffered from age discrimination in the workplace, contact us for an initial discussion and to make an appointment. Call us on 0333 322 1000 or 0800 987 8156 to speak to a specialist employment law solicitor.

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