Age discrimination at work is something that many employees face and it can take various forms, from subtle biases to overt actions that negatively impact your career. Contrary to common belief, this type of discrimination can affect all age groups. Not only are older people discriminated against in the workplace, but younger people are too.
In addition to impacting the individual being discriminated against, age discrimination has far-reaching consequences for both employees and organisations. It influences morale, leading to reduced job satisfaction and productivity. Not to mention, it can limit innovation and growth as organisations do not invest in age-diverse teams.
Addressing discrimination requires proactive steps. Employees should be aware of their rights under UK law and take appropriate action when necessary. By tackling age discrimination head-on, employees can help to create a fairer and more inclusive work environment for everyone. Below we have delved into the issue of age discrimination in more detail.
What is Age Discrimination at Work?
Age discrimination occurs when an employee is treated unfairly because of their age. It can affect people at every stage of UK employment, from recruitment and promotions to dismissal and retirement. However, this type of discrimination often targets those who are considered to be “too young” or “too old” for a particular role. Recognising the signs of age discrimination in the workplace is the first step in addressing it effectively.
Common Forms of Age Discrimination
There are several different types of discrimination outlined in employment law. The Equality Act 2010 (EqA) lists “age” as a protected characteristic and employees are protected against direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Some common forms of age discrimination at work include;
- Hiring and Promotion – Age discrimination can manifest during job application and promotion processes. Both older and younger candidates can be unfairly excluded or overlooked, and without objective justification, this can be discriminatory.
- Unfair Treatment – Employees may face unfavourable treatment when it comes to opportunities, like access to training and development, based on their age. This can have a knock-on effect on their professional growth and career prospects.
- Harassment – Age-related jokes and comments in the workplace can create a hostile environment that undermines job satisfaction. This type of discrimination can have a big impact on workplace culture.
- Redundancy – Older employees are sometimes unfairly chosen for redundancies, especially when organisations are trying to cut costs or adopt new technologies. This can be considered direct discrimination.
- Stereotyping – Assumptions about an employee’s capabilities, adaptability or willingness based on their age are common in the workplace. When acting upon stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes it can lead to discrimination.
Tackling Age Discrimination in the Workplace
There are lots of ways employees can be proactive in preventing age discrimination at work.
Promote Age Diversity
Encourage your organisation to embrace age diversity and inclusivity. Advocate for policies and practices that value employees of all ages and promote a culture of respect and equal opportunities. By championing age diversity, you can contribute to creating a more inclusive workplace for everyone.
Know Your Rights
It is always beneficial to familiarise yourself with age discrimination laws in the UK, such as the EqA which provides protection from age discrimination at work. Understanding your rights is the first step in addressing the discriminatory behaviour you have experienced, empowering you to take informed action to protect your interests.
Keep a detailed record of any age-related incidents or discriminatory actions you experience or witness in the workplace. This documentation can be crucial if you decide to make an internal complaint or take a claim to the Employment Tribunal, as it provides concrete evidence to support your case and get the justice you deserve.
Raise the Issue
If you experience age discrimination, it is essential to report it to your HR department or a relevant senior team member within your organisation promptly. Many companies have policies and procedures in place for addressing discrimination complaints, and you should also adhere to the ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance Procedures.
Speak to Colleagues
If you feel comfortable doing so, consider talking to colleagues who may have witnessed the discrimination or experienced it themselves. Their support and willingness to share their experiences can be valuable when addressing the problem, and it can create a stronger collective voice against discrimination.
Seek Legal Advice
If the issue persists, escalates or you are unhappy with how it was handled internally, it is advisable to seek advice from an employment law expert who specialises in discrimination cases. They can assess your situation, provide guidance on your legal options and advocate on your behalf if necessary, ensuring your rights are protected at all times.
Make a Claim
With the assistance of an employment law specialist, you can take a discrimination claim to the Employment Tribunal if necessary. Pursuing a claim and getting compensation is a significant step in holding your employer accountable for the discrimination you experienced and seeking justice for any harm you have suffered at work.
Speak to an Expert About Age Discrimination at Work in London
Age discrimination is a serious issue that should not be tolerated. As an employee, you have rights and protections under the law. By understanding the forms of discrimination and seeking legal assistance when necessary, you can play a vital role in combating age discrimination in the workplace. Remember that addressing age discrimination benefits not only individuals but also organisations that strive for a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Should you require support with an Employment Tribunal claim for discrimination at work in London, do not hesitate to contact Damian McCarthy. Damian is a dedicated employment law specialist and over the years, he has represented clients at the highest levels with a wide range of discrimination claims. He has achieved outstanding results in some very complex cases and will be committed to your claim.
With extensive experience, Damian can not only provide you with sound advice but also help you to get the compensation you deserve following an incident of age discrimination at work. You can learn more about how Damian can help on his website today.