A parliamentary committee has published its report on its inquiry into older people in the workplace concluding that the government is failing to adequately enforce age discrimination law and that prejudice, unconscious bias and casual ageism are rife in the workplace.

What the report says

The report estimates that over one million people over 50 who want to work are unable to do so  because of discrimination, bias and outdated employment practices. It makes various recommendations to address this situation, including:

  • Greater transparency -reflecting gender pay gap reporting obligations, so that employers with 250+ employees are required to publish the age profile of their workforce.
  • An increase in flexible working – including all jobs being advertised as flexible from day one.
  • A statutory entitlement to five days’ paid carer’s leave – on a par with parental leave.
  • Developing a mentoring service to help businesses adapt to an age-diverse workplace.

What the law says

The Equality Act 2010 contains the statutory protection against age discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination may be unfavourable treatment because of someone’s age (direct discrimination), something which applies to all but, which particularly disadvantages people in a particular age group and which an employer cannot show is justified (indirect discrimination) or, unwanted conduct which violates – or is intended to violate – a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for them (harassment).

Examples of age discrimination

Age discrimination can take place at the recruitment stage, while someone is employed and even after employment has ended. Examples include:

  • job advert asking for youthful enthusiasm”, “drive” and “motivation”
  • job advert asking for someone “in first five years of their career”
  • requirement to hold a degree
  • being dismissed to avoid a pension pay-out
  • stopping PHI payments at age 55
  • not offering voluntary redundancy due to age
  • subjecting younger workers to harsher criticism than others


While this report focused specifically on those considered to be “older” (i.e. the over 50), it should be remembered that age discrimination laws protect those of all ages so that younger as well as older employees may bring claims in the employment tribunal.

How can we help you?

Think you might have been subject to age discrimination in the workplace? Then talk to our employment law specialists today. We’ll help you figure out the best way forward for you.

Published in…

Updates: For employers: Discrimination | For employees: Bullying and harassment | General: News |
Tagged with: Age discrimination |

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