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Age discrimination is against the law

Thursday 27 April 2006

Age discrimination law applies to every employer and employee in Great Britain.


Age discrimination law applies to every employer and worker in Great Britain. As an employer, you need to understand how it affects your organisation and what you need to do to meet your legal obligations.

By 2020 there will be nearly 25 million people over the age of 50 in the UK. Older people have invaluable experience that employers may miss out on if they make assumptions about older peoples' ability to do a good job. Equally, younger workers may be discriminated against if employers make assumptions that they lack experience. BERR estimates that age discrimination costs British employers £750million in lost opportunities every year.

Employers must show that they make decisions based on peoples' abilities and not on their age. This affects every area of employment relations, from recruitment and retirement policy to promotion and training decisions.

There is certainly no room for employers to be complacent - and those who discriminate could pay a high price.

The good news is that you are not alone and there are sensible steps you can take to comply with the law. Acas provides excellent advice and training, based on 30 years working with employers and employees over a wide range of employment relations issues.

We would rather you got it right from the start and avoid the need to end up in a tribunal hearing.

You can read our online pdf icon Age and the workplace: a guide for employers and employees [336kb] (or order paper copies from 08702 42 90 90), and find answers to employers' most . You can also book online for age discrimination training, which our specialist trainers run all over the country. There is likely to be a course near you.

If you cannot find what you are looking for and wish to speak to an adviser in confidence, call our helpline on 08457 47 47 47.


If you are an employee - or a potential or ex-employee, you have a legal right not to be discriminated against because of your age. It does not matter how old or young you are, or who the employer is. The law covers every workplace in Great Britain.  

You might be discriminated against when you apply for a job. You might be discriminated against when you are in a job - for example regarding training and promotion opportunities.  You might also be discriminated against over retirement issues.

Acas has 30 years experience of working with both employers and employees and we can offer you some excellent advice.