Discrimination on the basis of age is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”). Therefore no employee or worker (including those who are deemed to be self-employed) should be discriminated against because of their age.
If you have been refused employment, offered employment on less favourable terms, denied promotion, training or other benefits, subjected to a detriment, dismissed or subjected to unwanted conduct and you believe this is because of your age; you may have a claim for age discrimination.
Types of age discrimination
- Direct discrimination: This is where someone is treated less favourably and that less favourable treatment is because of their age, for example where an employer refuses to hire an employee on the basis that they believe them to be too old and that they would not fit in with the `youthful culture’ of the company.
- Indirect discrimination: This is where an employer imposes a provision, criterion or practice (usually a policy) applicable to everyone but which causes a disadvantage to one age group over another, and there is no objective justification for it. A practical example of this would be an employer having a policy in place where they do not hire anyone over the age of 50. Unless this policy was justified on health grounds it would amount to being indirect discrimination on the grounds of age.
- Harassment, in general terms this is unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating your dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. This can be bullying which is violent or obvious as well as teasing, nicknames, jokes, or other behaviour which is not done with malicious intent but which is upsetting.
- Victimisation, this is where a person receives less favourable treatment compared to others because they have either brought (or given evidence in) an Employment Tribunal, or raised a grievance alleging discrimination protected under the Act.
- The Act also provides for ‘vicarious liability’ provisions, making an employer responsible for the acts of their employees.
An employee does not require a qualifying service to bring a claim for age discrimination.
The time limit for bringing a claim for age discrimination in the Employment Tribunal (ET) is three months less one day from the date of the last act of discrimination. Extensions of this time limit are only available in exceptional circumstances.
If an employee or worker succeeds in a claim for age discrimination, the ET has the power to order the payment of compensation. The award would normally comprise of two elements: injury to feelings and loss of earnings.
Further the ET has the jurisdiction to award damages for personal injury and make recommendations that an employer takes specific action, within a specified period.
If you feel you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of your age, please contact us on 0113 350 4030 or complete the enquiry form for a free telephone consultation. Alternatively, why not drop into one of our free clinics on Wednesday’s from 5:30pm until 7:30pm at our offices.
We will explore all avenues of funding.