Acas Publishes New Guidance on Age Discrimination

July 11, 2019
Roger Tynan


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Acas has published a new Guidance on Age Discrimination to help employers manage an age diverse workforce, prevent unfair treatment at work, and eradicate bias against older and younger workers. Follow the link to the Guidance, here.

The Guidance includes the following ‘top ten obligations’ as well as a myths v facts sheet.

1. Ageist remarks are likely to be discriminatory whether or not they are meant to be insulting – it’s the effect they can have that matters.

2. Make sure job applicants and employees are not discriminated against because of their age, the age they are thought to be, or the age of someone they are linked with.

3. Don’t discriminate against a job applicant because of age at any point in a recruitment process from job descriptions to job offers.

4. Don’t make age-based assumptions about what job applicants and employees are capable of and how they will behave. Such stereotyping is one of the most likely causes of age discrimination.

5. Don’t pressurise or bully an employee into retiring. And remember that generally the law doesn’t have a fixed retirement age for someone to retire by.

6. Base an employee’s pay, benefits and perks on their job and skills, not age. But remember, the law allows the improvement of pay, benefits and perks for service of up to five years and, where the employer can prove the need, for more than five years’ service.

7. Don’t assume there is more value in training younger staff and no or little value in training older employees.

8. Treat employees consistently and fairly when assessing their performance and setting future goals, no matter what their age.

9. Make sure policies and practices in the workplace don’t put an employee at a disadvantage because of age. Often this is unintentional.

10. The law does allow different treatment because of age in limited circumstances, but these exceptions can be complicated to put into practice correctly. An employer would need to be fully informed about using an exception, able to prove there is a real and important requirement for using it and confident there was no other option.