Q: What do the following two scenarios have in common?
1. Not promoting a 25 year old employee because you don't think that they could manage a team of workers who are older than them.
2. Not offering training to a 60 year old worker because you think that they might retire soon so it would be a waste of investment.
A: They are both examples of age discrimination.
Age discrimination laws were introduced back in 2006 but it is still reported to be one of the most common forms of unfair treatment at work. In an effort to try and address this, ACAS has recently published some guidance aimed at helping employers understand age discrimination issues, whether that be making discriminatory employment decisions based on age (like in the above examples) or comments that could amount to harassment (such as calling an older worker "over the hill").
Employers would do well to remember that the level of compensation in a successful discrimination claim is uncapped, meaning it could be a very expensive mistake to ignore age discrimination in the workplace.
Features of the protected characteristic of age under the Equality Act include: protection against unfair treatment because of someone's actual age, or the age they are thought to be, or the age of someone they are associated withprotection against harassment because of age, anddifferent treatment because of age being allowed in very limited circumstances.