Age Discrimination at Work

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In England and Wales it’s against the law for an employer to treat you less favourably because of your age. You may immediately think of discrimination of older people but this also applied to younger people too.

If your employer has been discriminating against you because of your age you can take action and make a claim against them for age discrimination.

Our Employment Law Solicitors can help you understand if your employer is treating you unfairly and give you legal advice on your next steps, including making a claim against them.

Time limits on making an employment law claim are short, so it’s really important to get legal advice as early as possible. Please also ask if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis. For more information see Discrimination at Work.

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More Information on Age Discrimination at Work

In the past, employers could still require employees to retire at a particular age, and it was easy for employees and employers alike to make mistakes in relation to the technical procedure when giving notice of retirement.

The introduction of The Equality Act 2010 means that there is a more straightforward approach by entirely removing the retirement provisions. This means that many employees no longer have a contractual retirement age.

However, some employers are allowed the opportunity, by The Equality Act, to justify direct age discrimination. There are a few good examples of this in practice. For example, a theatre recruiting an older worker to be an actor playing a character in a play of a similar age to theirs or a job which required a particular level of physical activity or endurance which an older worker could probably not achieve. In addition, there are different National Minimum Wage amounts payable depending on your age and this is lawful.

What is Age Discrimination at Work?

Age discrimination in the workplace, also known as ageism, is against the law. Your employer can’t, in most cases, treat your differently because of your age.

The Equality Act says that you have protection:

  • If your employer is treating you unfairly because of your actual age, or your perceived age, or the age of someone you are associated with
  • Against harassment because of your age

There are limited circumstances where different treatment because of your age is allowed. Get free initial legal advice from one of our experienced Employment Law Solicitors and they can understand very quickly if you have a claim.

If you take your claim to an Employment Tribunal you can bring a claim against your employer and also the person who is harassing you as these may be different. Any award of compensation can include loss of earnings and damages for injury to feelings.

Types of Age Discrimination

There are four types of age discrimination at work. They are:

Direct Discrimination – This is when an employer discriminates against you because of your age, your perceived age or because you associate with someone of a certain age. This does not have to be intentional to be against the law. 

Indirect Discrimination – Happens when an employer has a policy, procedure or practice in place that affects everyone, but specifically puts you at a disadvantage because of your age and they cannot justify it. 

Harassment – Where you are being harassed, intimidated or degraded because of your age. This usually focuses on how you see the conduct rather than how the person harassing you sees it – banter or jokes can really impact you and you can feel that you are being harassed, even though the person may not intended you to feel harassed.  

Victimisation – You suffer a disadvantage because you made an age discrimination at work claim or you support someone who made a complaint. 

Where Can Age Discrimination at Work Happen?

There are many times at work where you may face age discrimination. They are:

  • Whilst applying for a role or being recruited
  • Whilst asking for or being offered training
  • When looking for a promotion
  • When reviewing your pay or terms and conditions of employment
  • During appraisals or performance management
  • During Redundancy selection
  • During dismissal

There are many times where age discrimination at work can occur. If you’re not sure if you’ve suffered from age discrimination at work, talk to an experienced Employment Lawyer.

What Can I Do about Age Discrimination at Work?

You don’t have to accept it. You should firstly check if your employer has specific policies or procedures on discrimination. If so, you should follow these.

If not, you could either raise the matter with your HR department, if there is one or with your line manager providing they are not the one discriminating against you. If so, raise the matter with your manager’s manager.

If you don’t feel that the issue has been resolved informally, you may want to raise a grievance. Again, if you don’t feel that it’s been resolved, you can start a claim at an Employment Tribunal. 

Claim Time Limits

The time limit for bringing an age discrimination claim is three months from the date of the discriminatory act, or the last in a series of acts. That can include up to three months after your employment ended.

Before you can take your claim to an Employment Tribunal, you do have to complete the Early Conciliation process with ACAS. This is to try to resolve your claim before you go to Tribunal. Once the process is complete and if you cannot resolve it, you can then make your claim to a Tribunal. The time limit is paused whilst the Early Conciliation process take place.

Length of Service

Unlike many other employment law claims there is no requirement to have a minimum length of service. This means you can bring a claim against your employer at any point. 

Drawing a Pension and Working

It’s important to understand that ongoing employment is now a separate issue to the right to draw a pension. Many people continue working and receiving pay when they have the right to draw a pension under the terms of their pension scheme. 

What to Do Now

Get legal advice from a specialist Employment Law Solicitor as soon as possible. At Simpson Millar, we can help you understand if you have a claim and to know what your next steps are. Please ask if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

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