Age Discrimination at Work.

We don’t need to be disabled to be discriminated upon.

Age Discrimination (Ageism) in the Workplace is the discrimination by an employer and HR management because of the person’s age. The person could be either to young or too old.

What is age discrimination?

The Equality Act covers the following types of discrimination:direct discrimination

  1. indirect discrimination
  2. harassment
  3. victimisation

Direct discrimination

This is where a decision is made because of a person’s age

  1. a person’s perceived age
  2. the age of someone a person is associated with (such as a partner, husband wife, friend or family member). This may not be because of age but could be because of other factors such as race, religion, gender, secual orientation.
  3. Direct discrimination is not always, and does not need to be, intentional.

We have to explore all spectrums of the scale if the person is not hired because they are too young it could be they do not have enough experience. However a person who is too old may take more time off work more often than a young person due to having hospital appointments etc or illnesses. An older person may not have the same stamina as their younger counterpart. They may not be able to do physical work due to heavy lifting etc.

A younger person is more sellable if they have to represent a company a young person is the face of the brand.

They are various discrimination factors which I will go into in a moment.

However I want to add that there is a law protecting people being discriminated which was passed in 1967 The Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) what this means is that employers cannot discriminate based on a persons age.

But wait for this you have heard “age is just a number” in the case of small businesses it is just that, a number as, companies with less than 20 employees are exempt from the ADEA. This makes no sense at all as this law should be the same regarless if you have one employee or a thousand. (Grey Area).

Discrimation in the workplace is not just about age it is also to do with prejudices that occur when an employee is treated unfavourably because of gender, sexuality, race, religion, pregnancy and maternity or disability.

Examples of Ageism and how employers signal you are as follows:

  1. An employer discrimates and older person as they may not be up to speed with technology or may have adapted bad habits such as checking their personal phone whilst working.
  2. An employer refuses to hire a young person on construction as they are not experienced enough and insurance companies may not pay out if there was an accident.
  3. An employer may not hire an older person because they may be more prone to taking time off work due to illnesses.
  4. An employer may take on a younger person as they do not have to pay more money for an older person to do the same job.
  5. An employer may reject a candidate for a job application because they over a certain age the employer thinks the canidate will not portray the youthful image they want for their business.
  6. An employee maybe overlooked for promotion because they may be retiring soon.
  7. An employee may be excluded from business social gathering because the employee’s partner is much older than her and would not ‘fit in’ with the other employees.
  8. An employer may reject a job application because they need a minimum of 10 years experience (A bit difficult if you are a graduate who may be over qualified, but with no experience).
  9. A company having to make job cuts may have a policy where ‘Last In, First Out’. This can be indirectly discriminatory.
  10. An employer may reject a job application on the assumption that an older person may be too set in their ways to make changes and may be too complacent. ( I am now going to show my age I will be 58 in January and I going strong).
  11. A younger person may want to chat more rather than get on with their work.
  12. An employer may reject a candidtes job application if they are older, if the candidate is more qualified and has nore experience and network contacts than the employer.

” So AGE is meerly a number” it should not make a difference and by employers making excuses that a younger person may be on their personal phone too much, my answer to that is ban all personal mobile phones in the work place and put all phones in a safe under lock and key. Any emergencies can then be dealt with by the thirdparty calling the office number.

As for employment in general, candidates should be assessed on their experience and motivation, not on their age or their looks. If a candidate has more qualification and more experience than the employer, the employer should use that as an asset not as a hindrance.

NLW and NMW rates from 1 April 2020

National Minimum WagePrevious rateCurrent rate from 1 April 2020Increase
National Living Wage£8.21£8.726.2%
21-24 Year Old Rate£7.70£8.206.5%
18-20 Year Old Rate£6.15£6.454.9%
16-17 Year Old Rate£4.35£4.554.6%
Apprentice Rate£3.90£4.156.4%
Accommodation Offset£7.55£8.206.4%

Citations:

http://www.agediscrimination.info/practical-guide

https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/age-discrimination

https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/signs-of-ageism-in-the-workplace

AGEISM & THE LAW.

If you feel you have been unfairly mistreated at work because of your age contact ‘ACAS’:

https://archive.acas.org.uk/agediscrimination

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