I have seen an increase in clients coming to see me in relation to claims for age discrimination. Read my post to learn more about age discrimination and if you have a claim.
What is Age Discrimination?
There are four types of age discrimination prohibited by the Equality Act 2010:-
- Direct discrimination –is treating an employee less favourably because of their age. Unlike in other discrimination claims, it is important to note that in the case of age discrimination, employers have the potential justification of arguing that their discriminatory treatment was a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.
- Indirect discrimination – this is applying a provision, criterion or practice “PCP” to everyone, but the PCP places one particular age group at a disadvantage. In all discrimination claims, the employer has the potential justification that the PCPC was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
- Harassment – this is any unwanted conduct related to age which has the purpose or effect of violating an employee’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. This type of discrimination commonly includes name calling, singling out of employees and what is often referred to as “workplace banter….”.
- Victimisation – this is detrimental treatment following an employee carrying out a protected act. A protected act could be lodging an Employment Tribunal claim, or simply complaining about discrimination. An example of victimisation could be an employee lodging a grievance about sex discrimination, only to find that the discrimination becomes worse, they are isolated, suffer other ill treatment, like demotion or a pay cut as a result of complaining.
Age discrimination does not just apply to older employees. Although I more commonly represent older employees, I have also pursued claims for younger employees where they have been subjected to discrimination on the grounds of being in a younger age group (such as those under the age of 21).
Examples of Recent Age Discrimination Claims
- An employee with over 40 years of work experience, excellent qualifications, no sickness absence and a clear disciplinary record selected for redundancy over much younger and less experienced employees. A claim for Unfair Dismissal and Age Discrimination pursued and resulted in an excellent outcome for my client.
- An employee with over 25 years of work experience subjected to an unfair performance process as a means of forcing him out of work. A Settlement Agreement was negotiated to his satisfaction.
- An employee in the over 60 age group subjected to less favourable treatment for being unable to utilise a new computer software system and so dismissed for alleged capability reasons. A claim for Unfair Dismissal and Age Discrimination pursued and resulted in a significant compensation payment for my client.
- An employee in the age group of under 21 subjected to harassment and direct discrimination. A claim pursued and settlement concluded before a final hearing.
What to do if you think you have suffered Age Discrimination
- In the first instance speak to your Line Manager to try and informally resolve the situation. If your Line Manager is involved, then elevate to the next available Manager. It may also be wise at this early opportunity to contact your trade union, your HR department, any internal wellbeing or counselling services, ACAS, the Citizens Advice Bureau or the Human Rights Commission for support in getting the situation resolved.
- If an informal approach does not work then review your employer’s formal policies and procedures to see if they have a Grievance Procedure, Dignity at Work Procedure or Bully & Harassment Procedure (or other). You should then follow the appropriate procedure which will usually require you to submit a written complaint about the treatment you are receiving, along with how you would like to see it resolving. Your employer should then investigate your complaint and provide a suitable outcome. Again, obtain support throughout this process from any of the sources listed under the preceding bullet point. Similarly, the solicitors at LincsLaw all have extensive experience of advising employees through internal processes such as these.
- If the formal approach does not work, you may seek redress in the Employment Tribunal by submitting a claim under the Equality Act 2010 for age discrimination. Please remember that internal policies or procedures may take some time to conclude, but a claim for age discrimination must be submitted to the Employment Tribunal no later than 3 months less 1 day from the date of the actual act complained of. Ensure you take appropriate legal advice so your limitation date is not missed.
Assistance From LincsLaw Solicitors?
Over the last 12 years I have assisted numerous clients suffering from age discrimination at work. If you believe you have or are being subjected to age discrimination, please do not hesitate to call me on 01522 440512, or visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk.
Director & Specialist Employment Law Solicitor