The Equality Act outlaws direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of age. However, unlike other areas of the legislation, discrimination on the basis of age can be lawful if it is objectively justified.
General guidance is available on the implications within the workplace of the legislation and what to look out for in your organisation's policies and practices. Logged-in members and reps can download the guidance. We have produced separate briefings on the implications for retirement, redundancy and pensions. These can be found in the pensions & retirement area of the website.
Age Positive was a team which worked within the Department for Work And Pensions to promote the benefits of employing a mixed-age workforce, as well as providing guidance on good practice. They have provided six 'top tips' for employers who wish to root out ageism from their organisation:
- Remove age limits from recruitment advertisements. Avoid using words like 'young' or 'mature'.
- Use a mixed age interview panel in the selection process, wherever possible.
- Promote people on the basis of measurable performance and demonstrated potential rather than age.
- Offer employees of all ages the opportunity to train and develop themselves. Encourage reluctant older and younger workers by using, as role models, employees who have benefited from training.
- Base redundancy decisions on objective, job-related criteria. Automatically making workers over a certain age redundant, or operating a "last-in-first-out" system will lead to a loss of key knowledge, skills and corporate memory.
- Agree a fair and consistent retirement policy with employees. Offer pre-retirement support and, where possible, consider flexible or extended retirement options.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is responsible for overseeing the legislation on age discrimination.
The British Youth Council works with young people to promote active citizenship.
Age UK supports people over 50 in the UK and campaigns on issues such as age discrimination and pensions.
The Employers Forum on Age is a network of employers who recognise the need to attract and retain valuable employees - whatever their age.
TAEN - The Age and Employment Network works to promote an effective labour market that serves the needs of people in mid and later life, employers and the economy.
Equality briefings and resources
Equality Briefings provide advice and guidance on a range of equalities issues. We have produced briefing which has links to Prospect's equality resources, including guides, posters and leaflets etc.
Below you will find a list of our main resources on this issue. You can find a wider range of resources by searching our library.