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Age Discrimination in the Workplace

In the next 25 years, the number of people older than 85 will double to 2.6 million and this coupled with a rising retirement age means that ensuring your workplace is up to date with combatting age discrimination, is more important than ever. However, age discrimination does not just apply to older employees, but younger employees too. And while some companies offer sex/gender and race discrimination training, age discrimination is often overlooked.

Studies have linked age-based discrimination to negative beliefs and assumptions. Younger employees can be perceived as lazy, less reliable, less organised, selfish and poorly motivated simply because of their age. Younger workers also tend to receive lower pay and benefits relative to similarly experienced older workers and be more at risk of layoff during a decline. However, older employees face discrimination based on negative stereotypes, including perceptions that they are less adaptable, lack physical capabilities, have limited technological competence, are less trainable and are resistant to change. They are also less likely to be shortlisted for interviews, hired, offered training opportunities, or promoted.

The problem with age discrimination is that it is often an unconscious bias, meaning that the employer may not even realise they are discriminating on age, which is why it is vitally important that the business is adequately trained to both notice and deal with age discrimination. Discriminating employees based on age, knowingly or not, is a criminal offence under the Equality Act of 2010.

If your business needs help or advice navigating age discrimination in the workplace, please contact one of our HR Consultants on 01935 411191 or to discuss further.


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