AM Online

Age prejudice is outlawed

Earlier this year a senior manager at a large dealer group was made redundant because his employer did not believe he was ‘dynamic’ enough.

“I’d been working in the automotive industry for more than 40 years and I had a wealth of experience. By using words like ‘dynamic’ my employer was inferring that I did not have enough energy to do my job,” says the former manager.

“This was ridiculous, as I’d been happily working 60 hour weeks.”

After the 58-year-old was laid off, a younger person was appointed to work in a similar position. With the introduction of the new Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, which were effective from October 1, the Government is hoping to reduce the number of such incidents.

The act covers six main areas: recruitment, selection, promotion, training and development, redundancy and retirement.

This means that employers must ensure people are not denied any opportunities because of their age, either directly or indirectly.

Recruitment ads can no longer contain phrases such as “mature worker” or “enthusiastic young staff”.

Furthermore, employers must ensure that redundancy policies don’t discriminate against older workers. For example, an employer couldn’t select only part-time workers, a large number of which may be older, for redundancy.

Staff will also have the right to stay at work until the age of 65, even if the formal payout age of the company’s pension scheme remains at 60. This means older workers could receive salary and pension simultaneously.

“After I was made redundant I took legal action against my employer. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful because the dealer group managed to shift the blame onto the manufacturer,” says the former employee speaking to AM.

“With the new regulations in place it would have been illegal for them to use the term ‘dynamic’. But even if it does make a difference in the long-term, it’s like any law: people will find a way around it.”

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