What Is Age Discrimination?
Age discrimination is when an employee is treated unfairly or put at a disadvantage for any reason relating to their age or if they belong to a range of ages (e.g.: 50–60 year olds, over 50’s or under 20’s). This could happen on a regular basis or as a single one-off act of discrimination.
Age discrimination does not solely stand to protect employees of an older age but also younger employees. It is considered equally unlawful to restrict employment opportunities by imposing either a lower age limit or a higher one unless it can be objectively justified.
There are four key areas of age discrimination; direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
All employees are covered by the regulations outlined in the Equality Act 2010. Age discrimination covers all employees including management, contract or agency workers, freelancers, self-employed staff, trainees, apprentices and also job applicants. Employees are covered within all areas of employment, training and recruitment.
The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 sets guidelines in regard to protecting specific age groups from dismissal, employment terms and conditions, pay and benefits, promotions, transfer opportunities, training and education, recruitment and redundancy.
The act covers all areas of employment. This includes recruitment applications, interviews, promotions, the provision of benefits, retirement, and occupational pension schemes.
The act states that you must not be discriminated against because of your age, or where someone assumes your age (perceived discrimination or discrimination by perception), or by a connection to somebody of a certain age (associated discrimination or discrimination by association).
Specific Rights Outlined By The Equality Act
You are entitled to make any unfair dismissal claim beyond the age of 65. Older employees will carry the same rights for unfair dismissal as younger ones.
You may have the right to claim unfair dismissal if you are made redundant because you are older than your employer’s accepted retirement age.
You are entitled to claim the statutory minimum redundancy payment if you are over 65 or over the guideline retirement age allocated to your industry.
There are no age limits on an employee being able to claim statutory sick pay, maternity pay or paternity pay.
The act prevents age-discrimination in all areas of employment training and education. This does not specifically apply to older generations only but also to younger ones.
Direct discrimination is when an employee is treated unfairly because of their age when compared to someone of a different age or from a different age group.
Direct discrimination can take place at any time during employment and before. Discrimination occurring during training courses and exercises, as well as the recruitment process is also included. Advertisements for employment roles should usually be age neutral and based on the ability and experience of the applicant.
Issues of age should not be raised during staff appraisals or evaluations.
Indirect discrimination happens when any rules or regulations set out by the employer’s company appear to put employees of a certain age at a disadvantage.
An example of indirect discrimination could include promotion policies that unjustifiably require an advanced level of qualification. A younger member of staff may not be old enough to have had the time to study to this level but still be more than suitable for the role in question. If there is no justification for this requirement then this can be seen as indirect discrimination as although the policy applies to everyone the younger employee is at a definite disadvantage. In some cases demanding an extended duration of experience in a specific industry without any legitimate reason for doing so can be seen as indirect discrimination towards someone who isn’t old enough to have had chance to operate as such for the allotted amount of time.
Harassment occurs when an employee is treated in such a way to make them feel humiliated, offended or degraded because of their age. An act considered a violation of an employee’s dignity, or in creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment to may be classed as harassment and is liable under age discrimination laws.
Harassment includes making negative remarks including bullying, mockery, making jokes or name-calling in regard to an employee’s age. Harassment also includes unwelcome discussion of the impact of the employee’s age, refusing to work with an employee because of their age, or excluding certain workers from training, meetings, social events or other gatherings due to their age.
Victimisation is the act of receiving detrimental treatment as a result of having made a complaint about age discrimination or helping a colleague to make a complaint of the same.
It is also classed as victimisation if an employee is treated detrimentally because an employer, manager or other member of staff believe or assume that an employee has made a complaint of age discrimination or has assisted another member of staff in doing the same.
Making An Age Discrimination Claim
If an employee feels that they have been discriminated against because of their age they should seek to find a solution by means of the appropriate channels set out by the business. Making a complaint to a manager about the behaviour in question should be the first step. If no suitable resolve is made the next step is to make a written complaint to the employer. A written complaint is record of the discrimination if the issue is eventually taken to a tribunal.
If there is still no suitable outcome then you are entitled to raise a tribunal against your employer and any colleague who may have discriminated against you. A tribunal may only be brought against your employer if you have followed the ACAS Early Conciliation process.
A claim must usually be made within 3 months of the date of dismissal or act of discrimination.
If successful a tribunal will announce the rights of the claimant, they can recommend the employer implements key changes to their processes to avoid further issues and similar cases arising, and also award compensation to the victim.
Awards to injury and feelings include hurt feelings, aggravated damages and injury to health. Awards will also cover loss of earnings, additional losses and money lost from interest charges.
Contact Employment Solicitors Manchester Now
We have specialist age discrimination solicitors who will guide you through the best action to take in your unique situation.
You can call on 0161 82 11 559 or contact us by clicking here for an initial consultation regarding your employment position and wrongful dismissal concerns. We offer complete and full advice in easy to understand terms to help establish the most likely outcomes for your case in a relaxed and pressure free environment.
We understand how sensitive making a claim against your previous employer can be so our expertly trained staff deliver each of our services with empathy and understanding. It is entirely up to you whether you decide to pursue your claim or not. We’re here to help you make those important decisions backed by our years of experience and industry knowledge.