• 01616 966 229
  • Request a callback
Stephensons Solicitors LLP Banner Image

News and Events

Ageism in the workplace - a new generation

  • Posted
Employee ownership trusts - the alternative way of selling your business

In a world where multiple generations are employed within the same workforce, organisations and employers must ensure that their business is inclusive, and ensure that they manage age diversity fairly and lawfully.

What is age discrimination and when is an employee protected?

Ageism, or age discrimination, arises when an individual has been treated unfairly because of their age. Under the Equality Act 2010, individuals are protected from discrimination in all aspects of their employment, including during the recruitment process, the content of terms and conditions, the consideration of promotions, transfers, dismissals, and training opportunities. This includes protection from direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

By way of example, in circumstances where training opportunities for development are only provided to recent graduates within a business, it could be argued that this practice amounts to indirect discrimination. It is arguable that there is a practice, policy or rule which is applied and followed which places older employees (who are less likely to have graduated recently) at a disadvantage to their younger peers.  

Positive action

This principle refers to steps which an employer can make to encourage people from potentially disadvantaged groups to apply for roles, and to ensure inclusion.

A step which an employer may wish to take to ensure positive action within a business, is to promote inclusive terminology through any advertising roles. This may encompass promoting that older people are welcome to apply for an advertised role. Moreover, loaded terminology used within the place of business when assessing performance should be monitored.

In a case in 2020, it was reported that a large brand, had been ordered to pay a former employee compensation in the sum of over £95,000, following their claims that they were not promoted during their course of employment, for a reason related to their age. It was ruled that the reason that the employee was not promoted was that their employer had deemed that they were a ‘low flight risk’ compared to their younger counterparts. Further, it is understood that the claimant was often referred to as being ‘scatty’ which was ruled to be terminology verging on abuse, and would not have been used to describe a comparator, in this case, a younger colleague.

This case provides a clear message to employers, that performance reviews and processes should not be concluded based upon assumptions, and decisions and outcomes should be founded upon fair, clear and transparent procedures.

If you feel that you have experienced discrimination, and would like to obtain advice on the matter, you can speak to a member of our specialist discrimination law team on  0161 696 6170.

Or, if you are an employer who requires guidance on ensuring compliance with the Equality Act 2010, then please contact us on  0161 696 6170., to speak to a member of our specialist discrimination law and employment team.

By Ambre Williams, employment and discrimination advisor