On 1st October 2006 the Age Discrimination Legislation came into force to protect against age discrimination in the work force.
The new law ensures that people are no longer denied jobs or harassed because of their age and in most cases will have an equal chance of training and promotion.
Age discrimination can be explained as occurring when someone treats a person less favorably because of their age, and thus uses this as a basis for prejudice against and unfair treatment of that person.
Employers need to comply with the new legislation by checking that all their policies and procedures are in line with the new requirements, and seeking advice where necessary. Here are some tips to ensure that you abide by the new law;
- Make sure your selection procedures are age neutral.
- When writing job adverts or specifications ensure they are free of direct or indirect age statements
- Avoid phrases such as 'experienced', 'mature', 'young', dynamic' and 'must have x years experience'
- Consider if any experience that you request is necessary, such as 'educated to degree standard'
- Age criteria should not be taken into account in employment decisions and used only for monitoring purposes.
- Interviewers and those concerned with selection must not be subjective on the basis of physical characteristics and must ensure your decisions are based on objective criteria, relevant to the job and merit.
- An individual's age should not be used to make judgements about their abilities or fitness.
- Pay and terms of employment should not be based on age, but should reflect the value of individual contributions and standards of job performance.
- All employees should be eligible for training and development programmes.
- Alternatives to redundancy should be considered, such as shorter hours, part-time working and contractual arrangements.
- Requests to work beyond retirement age must be properly considered.