Age Discrimination - introduction to age discrimination

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 came into force on 1st October 2006 and the provisions are now found in the Equality Act 2010

The Act applies to all employment and vocational training (employees, prospective employees and trainees).

It is unlawful to discriminate, harass or victimise job applicants, employees or trainees on the grounds of age (young or old).

Direct discrimination occurs where the employer treats a job applicant/employee/trainee less favourably than he treats or would treat other persons unless he can objectively justify that treatment. It includes discrimination based on apparent age whether or not that is, in fact, the correct age.

Indirect discrimination occurs where the employer applies a provision, criterion or practice which puts persons of a particular age group at a particular disadvantage and they suffer a disadvantage as a result.

Discrimination by way of victimisation occurs if the employer treats a job applicant/employee/trainee less favourably because of something they have done under or in connection with the Regulations (e.g. supporting a fellow worker who has brought a claim for age discrimination).

If an employer gives instructions to an employee to discriminate against another employee and those instructions are not carried out, and that employee is then subjected to less favourable treatment, this will still constitute discrimination on the grounds of age.

Harassment occurs if the employee's conduct has the purpose or effect of violating the job applicant/employee/trainee's dignity or creating an offensive environment for him.

It is permissible to treat job applicants differently on the grounds of age if the job requires a characteristic related to age and this is a genuine occupational requirement. This exception also applies when promoting, transferring or training persons for a post.

Employer & Employee Liability for Discrimination

Employment Law