New Acas guidance on Age Discrimination

New Acas guidance on Age Discrimination

Acas has recently published new guidance on Age Discrimination to help employers and line managers manage an age diverse workforce. The guidance includes ten key obligations for employers and considers the key myths surrounding age discrimination. 

The Law  

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for an employer to: 

  • Discriminate directly by treating a job applicant less favourably than others because of age without objective justification
  • Discriminate indirectly by applying a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) that disadvantages job applicants or employees of a particular age group without objective justification
  • Subject a job applicant or employee to harassment related to age 
  • Victimise a job applicant or employee because they have made or intend to make an age discrimination complaint under the Equality Act 2010, or because they have taken action or intend to take action in connection with the Act. 

Minimising the risk of age discrimination

Recruitment

It is best to avoid requirements which will automatically rule older or younger workers out of a role. It is better to set out the type or types of experience needed for a role rather than asking for a number of years’ experience. It would be advisable for potentially discriminatory requirements to be replaced with more general competencies, skills or attributes. 

Training

Train employees on equality and discrimination awareness.

Anti-Discrimination and Harassment policy

This policy should include definitions of discrimination and harassment, with examples as well as reporting procedures, grievance procedures and disciplinary procedures.

Appraisals and promotion

Opportunities for promotion, job-related training or other development opportunities should be available to all employees regardless of age. (Except if you have objectively and legally justified reasons for age criteria).

Retirement

Compulsory retirement of a worker once they reach a particular age is, in principle, direct discrimination because of age. Compulsory retirement ages must be objectively justified.

 

Brachers advises on all aspects of employment law including Age Discrimination. For further advice, contact a member of the Employment Team.