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As an employer, you must treat all your employees equally. You have a duty to protect employees from discrimination of any kind.
If you don’t take steps to end all forms of discrimination in the workplace, you could end up with fines and see good employees leave.
This guide will outline what age discrimination is, give you some examples, and tips for preventing it from occurring.
Age discrimination is when you treat someone differently because of their age. Age is one of the nine protected characteristics in the Equality Act (2010). This legislation protects people from unfair treatment due to their age in the UK.
Age discrimination can happen at any age. Age ranges place people into categories, many of which you'll find familiar. Categories can be broad or quite specific. They vary from person to person, depending on the situation.
There isn’t a dedicated age discrimination act. But, the Equality Act (2010) affirms that discrimination is unlawful when it relates to any of these protected characteristics:
This act makes it illegal to treat someone differently because of their age.
There are four main types of age discrimination. They include:
Because age is one of the nine protected characteristics, you must protect your employees from this kind of discrimination. You should not tolerate discrimination against age in the workplace of any kind, by managers or employees.
It's important to bear this in mind when creating new policies, reviewing grievances, and hiring new employees.
The consequences of breaching age discrimination laws within the Equality Act will be detrimental to the business.
Your organisation could be taken to an employment tribunal. The penalties for age discrimination tend to vary.
Compensation is uncapped, although very high awards are rare. Compensation is assessed by looking primarily at:
So, it’s worth making sure your workplace is doing everything it can to prevent these worst-case scenarios.
These discrimination against age examples should give you a better understanding of how to spot it in the workplace:
Discrimination can have negative effects on the victim, and on wider company culture. Here are steps you can take to prevent age discrimination from occurring in your workplace:
Provide training that explains the Equality Act. Make colleagues aware of the protected characteristics. Educate them on the rules surrounding discrimination in the workplace and provide examples of the different types. Awareness is always the first step. So, make sure you communicate your policies regularly.
Make sure your decision-makers are aware of unconscious bias. It's important when handling redundancies and hiring new staff. Age discrimination and redundancy can sometimes go hand in hand.
Redundancy is such a sensitive subject matter, so it's best to be aware of all the protected characteristics during the decision-making process. Provide your managers with training to ensure they are aware of the repercussions.
Set up a diversity and inclusion group in your workplace to promote an inclusive culture. Make it the group purpose to consider ways to irradicate discrimination in the workplace. When you start to prioritise inclusion in your culture, people feel valued and accepted as who they are. This will give employee engagement and productivity a boost too.
Create a healthy workspace and protect your staff members from age discrimination in the workplace.
Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), provides advice on all types of employment issues.
Our EAP also comes with a wellbeing app, which your workers can use 24/7 – accessing unlimited wellbeing resources.
For guidance on eliminating age discrimination in the workplace, contact us today. Or arrange a call back from a workplace wellbeing expert today.
Call 0844 891 0358.
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