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New Acas e-learning helps employers get it right on age

Wednesday 22 August 2007

Acas has launched a new free e-learning course, available on our website, to help employers ensure they have a fair workplace without age discrimination. In 2006/07 there were 394 employment tribunal claims.

From 1 October 2006 it has been unlawful to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their age. Small businesses are risking employment disputes as they fail to make changes to their employment policies. In Acas' most recent survey, only 17 per cent had changed their employment and recruitment practices since the introduction of the legislation. Also one in 10 SMEs had previously treated people differently on the basis of age and had not made changes to their practices in response to the regulations.

The new course:

  • defines age discrimination
  • explains the legal aspects of the age discrimination Regulations
  • explains how the Regulations affect recruitment and existing employees
  • explains the exception and exemptions of the Regulations
  • describes the process for enabling a fair retirement.

Steve Williams, Acas' Head of Equality said:

'Fairness at work and good job performance go hand in hand. It's almost a year since the new age discrimination rules were introduced and employment tribunal complaints have been made. Many employers still haven't realised  what this could mean for them. Acas can help to minimise the risk of prosecution and to make employment decisions on the basis of talent and skills alone.

'Our new age e-learning course can help anyone who feels they might need help to understand what age discrimination means and how to prevent discrimination in their workplace.'

Nearly 70,000 people have registered to use Acas' free e-learning courses covering a range of topics including managing absence, bullying and harassment and redundancy handling. Acas also provides good practice guidance including the booklet 'Age and the workplace: a guide for employers' and the leaflet 'Age and the workplace: a guide for individuals'.

Notes to editors

  1. The survey figures in this release are from Acas' research paper, 'The impact of age discrimination legislation on small and medium-sized enterprises'.
  2. The employment tribunal figure is from Acas' 2006/07 annual report available to download on this page.
  3. Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.

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020 7210 3920/3621. For out-of-hours call 07900 406992.