A-Z OF EMPLOYMENT LAW. A IS FOR AGE DISCRIMINATION by Sundeep Bhatia
The days of being presented with a carriage clock, at the age of 60 or 65 are at an end.
There is no longer a compulsory age for retirement.
Any attempt to force an employee to resign,due to their age,is likely to result in a claim for direct or indirect discrimination,against the employer, which could result in an unlimited claim for damages at an Employment Tribunal.(Under these circumstances an employee is also likely to have a claim,against the employer,for unfair dismissal.)
Age is what is known as a “protected characteristic” under the Equality Act 2010.
This means that if an employee is treated differently from another employee,on account of his or her age,then the employee,who is the subject of differential treatment, is likely to have a claim against his or her employer,for direct discrimination.
There is a defence,for an employer,where the employer can show that the differential treatment is justified because it is proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.This means that the differential treatment must be appropriate and necessary.
There may also be a claim for indirect discrimination where a provision,criteria or practice,which appears to be neutral,and to effect all workers, actually puts older workers at a disadvantage compared to their younger counterparts.
An example of this would be where an employer requires job applicants to have worked for a particular industry for 20 years.This may disadvantage younger workers,(age discrimination works in both directions.It is not just older employees who can bring a claim for age discrimination.)
Once again an employer can justify indirect age discrimination if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
An employee may be able to bring an action against an employer, for victimisation on the grounds of age where he or she has made or supported a complaint about age discrimination.
A worker may also have an action against an employer, if they suffer unwanted conduct,relating to their age,which has the purpose or effect of violating the workers dignity,or of creating an intimidating ,hostile,degrading,humiliating or offensive environment.This is known as harassment.
Age does not have to be the only basis for the discriminatory act or acts of the employer.
It is enough if age was an important factor or if it had a significant influence on the outcome.
HOW EMPLOYERS CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST AN ACTION FOR AGE RELATED DISCRIMINATION.
Employers need to ensure that they have policies in place which are designed to prevent discrimination.
These procedures need to infuse every stage of the employment process from recruitment all the way through to termination or dismissal.
Beaumonde Law Practice can draft documentation adopting such procedures, for your business, and can thereby make it less likely that a disgruntled employee can bring a successful claim against the business for age related discrimination.
WHAT EMPLOYEES CAN DO IF THEY FEEL THAT THEY HAVE BEEN THE SUBJECT OF DIRECT OR INDIRECT DISCRIMINATION.
Make an appointment to see us.
We can advise regarding possible causes of action and as to the chances of success.We can also give you a valuation regarding any claim you may have.
We can also show you how to make an effective internal complaint ,or grievance, against your employer.
Our Sundeep Bhatia is an accredited mediator and can help to act as a neutral evaluator,in order to settle disputes between employers and employees.
Please telephone us on 0208 8681614 in order to arrange an appointment.