Age Discrimination

Age Discrimination

It is important to avoid discrimination during the recruitment process. Not only is this a legal requirement, but it also gives you the best chance of getting the right person for the job.

Remember - someone might be able to take you to an employment tribunal, even though they're not an employee, if they believe they weren't selected for a particular job as a result of discriminatory practices.

There are four types of Age Discrimination:
  • Direct discrimination: treating someone unfairly because of their actual or perceived age (they look young)
  • Indirect discrimination: when a policy or practice applies to all workers but disadvantages people of a particular age
  • Harassment: when unwanted conduct related to age creates an offensive environment for that person
  • Victimisation: unfair treatment of an employee who has made or supported a complaint about age discrimination

There has been a great deal written and said about Age Discrimination, however you shouldn’t directly ask how old someone is or ask leading questions related to the same point. However once you have employed someone then you may need to ask their date of birth to make sure you comply with the rules.

Job descriptions and person specification

When writing the job description and person specification, you should state clearly what tasks the person will have to do and what skills they will need. You should avoid any requirements that are not directly related to the job.

For example, for a position as a stylist, it is not necessary to know whether or not the applicant is married or what religion they are (if any). However, businesses in Northern Ireland with more than ten employees must conduct religious monitoring during recruitment.

Job advertisements

It is unlawful for a job advertisement to specify that the applicant must be of a particular gender, race, etc - unless being of that gender, race, etc is a genuine occupational requirement/qualification.

It is unlawful to publish job advertisements that imply that any candidate's success depends to any extent on them not having, or not having had, a disability, or indicate a reluctance on the part of an employer to make reasonable adjustments. In addition, third-party publishers, eg newspapers, are liable if they publish discriminatory advertisements.

To avoid age discrimination it is advisable not to use such phrases as, "young and dynamic", "would suit someone who has just qualified" or "minimum of ten years experience" as these may lead to age bias.

For further information please give us a call.