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Age discrimination at work

age discrimination at work

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In this day and age you’d think that age discrimination at work would be a thing of the past. Workers have fought for equality for decades and we have come a long way in many respects. However, there are still some companies/individuals that discriminate against workers for a number of reasons – and age tends to be one of the main ones.

Understanding age discrimination in the workplace

Laws state that employers are not allowed to treat an individual unfairly at work because of their age. They can’t fire you because of, or make comments about your age.

However, one thing many people don’t realise is that age discrimination can also include their family and friends. You may have to care for an elderly relative and your employer could give you a hard time because of it. If they do, that’s also classed as age discrimination, even though you aren’t the direct victim yourself.

The law protects you when you’re in work, applying for work and if you’re working via an agency.  It’s worth noting that there are times when an employer can treat you differently because of your age. It’s worth finding out about these particular circumstances so you don’t make a false claim against your employer at any point.

Exceptions when your age could matter

In some situations your employer could treat you unfairly because of your age. This is providing they can prove that it is actually justified. It wouldn’t make it fair, but it also wouldn’t make it illegal either.

A good example of where an employer could get away with age discrimination is a building company refusing to hire under 18’s. Legally you can start work when you’re 16. However, a building company could claim that they are protecting people under the age of 18 due to health and safety regulations. A younger worker would not have the right experience or strength to handle some of the building tasks.

Lorry drivers over the age of 55 could also be banned from driving articulated lorries due to an increase risk of a heart attack. A company could argue they are acting in the interest of public safety with this type of policy.

age discrimination at work

Retirement age discrimination

Once you reach a certain age, your employer is not allowed to dismiss you or suggest you take retirement. Again, this will depend upon whether or not they have a good reason to suggest it.

In the past employers could ask you to retire at the age of 65, known as the default retirement procedure. However, this changed in April 2011 and the default retirement procedure is no longer in place.

These are just some of the basic rules regarding age discrimination at work. It’s advisable to read up everything you can about your rights – that way, you’ll be able to tell straight away whether you are being treated unfairly and whether you can do anything about it.

No employer has the right to make you feel useless or bad about your age. There’s plenty of help available to those who feel they have been dismissed or treated unfairly.





About Jemma Porter

About Jemma Porter

Jemma Porter is an experienced content creator who has written for a number of online publications. A self-confessed penny pincher; she's often found seeking out the best personal finance deals.

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